With the approaching tenth anniversary of the original South Beach restaurant affectionately known as the “hidden pizza spot,” founder Chef Renato Viola is reflecting on his journey thus far. Initially opened as a little windowless eatery inside a South Beach office building, Viola’s pizzeria has since expanded into 15 Mister 01 locations throughout Florida.

With a chuckle, Viola says, “When I first opened the restaurant, people thought I was crazy. Today, they think I’m a genius.”

Viola’s fascination with pizza started as a child in Agropoli, Italy, as he grew up in a family that had a passion for quality food. As an adult, Viola earned the prestigious 0-1 Visa—reserved for people with extraordinary talent—after his dedication to the craft earned him two Pizza World Championship titles in Monte Carlo. He was awarded the honors for his “Star Luca” pizza; a distinct star-shaped pie featuring ricotta stuffed into pouches along the edges, tomato sauce, spicy salami, and mozzarella. It wasn’t long before he found himself in Miami, ready to introduce the community to his unique combinations.

While his pizzeria has since grown into several locations, the original Mister 01 location remains near and dear to Viola’s heart. Viola advertised the original shop exclusively by word of mouth, with no signage or anything else to even hint at its presence, and to the dismay of many, it worked. Within only a few weeks of its grand opening, the secret pizza place had blossomed into a hub of pizza enthusiasts eager to try Viola’s latest recipes.

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Speaking on the initial success of the original Mister 01 and its expansion, Viola says, “Our clientele’s enthusiasm sparked our growth. After building our presence in Brickell and Wynwood—where we introduced a pizza-making school—we expanded across the state, including franchises in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Naples, Orlando, and eventually across Texas.”

However, the details that have genuinely made Mister 01 successful across all 15 locations are reflected in Viola’s devotion to high quality and consistency. With a unique flour blend sourced directly from Italy and strategic partnerships with premium ingredient suppliers, Viola’s commitment to high standards is evident in each location. Regarding his steadfast consistency, he says “We have a commissary kitchen where our dough is mixed, proofed for 36 hours, and then sent to all our locations to finish proofing on-site.”

This level of consistency is why, no matter which restaurant they are at, diners agree that Mister 01’s signature thin-crusted pizzas are always the same. Additionally, every Mister 01 shines with attentive, friendly staff to make customers feel right at home as they’re served to the tune of the same 50’s rock playlist. Viola says, “The experience is 100% consistent throughout, no matter which Mister 01 you visit.”

The chef also spoke on Miami’s vibrant pizza scene and intense competition in the city’s rapid culinary growth, saying, “I’m thrilled to see the variety of styles available today, from New York-style to Roman, Detroit, and Neapolitan.” He continues, “It’s quite different from a decade ago when pizza was mostly seen as fast food; now, people appreciate it as gourmet fare made with high-quality, fresh ingredients.”

The keys to Viola’s success have been a mix of consistency and adaptability. While initially opposed to unconventional toppings such as pineapple, he eventually yielded to the desires of his customers, creating a Hawaiian-style pizza that rapidly paved the way for more innovative pies.

Some of his topping combinations now include gorgonzola with ginger, burrata with ground coffee beans, as well as limited edition combinations like the spicy Caleb Martin pie, which features truffle seasoning, spicy salami, mozzarella, ranch, and honey. Viola adds, “My guiding principle has always been to prioritize the happiness of our guests, making sure it never compromises the integrity of our product.”

Mister 01 is not done expanding either, as Viola says they have future plans to reach further across Florida into areas such as Miramar, Doral, and Pinecrest, as well as expanding into Texas and opening locations in Georgia. As for celebrating the tenth anniversary of the original location, coming in October, Viola says, “I want to give back to our guests and our team so you can expect a big celebration to honor both of them. I am so incredibly thankful to our clientele who believed in us and supported us throughout the years. It is thanks to our guests’ support that we have been able to grow to where we are.”

Viola concludes, “Our journey is far from over; there’s still so much to do and so many opportunities ahead. This is just the beginning.”