Bill Najmark knows a thing or two about pizza.
As the co-owner of in Land O’ Lakes, he should.
Najmark, who formerly worked in insurance, traded in a desk and phone for a pizza oven and pans more than 26 years ago. He was looking for something different; something he could be passionate about.
He found it.
“I make them blindfolded for fun,” he says of his handcrafted pies.
The transition from insurance to pizza making was easy for Najmark.
“I decided I didn’t want to sell insurance anymore,” he said. So, he bought a pizzeria in California and learned the ropes of the business.
Through the years, Najmark has worked hard to perfect his craft.
Making a pizza is like creating a masterpiece in his eyes. He starts with fresh ingredients for everything he makes. The sauce comes from fresh tomatoes, and he makes it himself. The meatballs used in various recipes are handcrafted, as well. Even the mozzarella cheese used on the pizza and in other dishes is only the highest quality, he said.
Why does he go to such trouble to make pizza?
“I make this because I love it,” he said. “(The high quality ingredients and handmade effort) are the things that make Ally’s the exception to the rule.”
Najmark’s wife and partner, Ali Listman agrees.
“We spend our money on food,” she says. “He makes his own sauce. Everything is fresh. It is his heart and soul.”
The Land O' Lakes restaurant opened several years ago. While it's a little hard to spot on Land O' Lakes Boulevard, just south of State Road 52, the eatery has made quite a name for itself.
On a recent afternoon, Ally’s was enjoying rather brisk traffic. A restaurant employee on a day off even stopped by for his lunch.
In addition to Najmark’s signature pizza, the restaurant also specializes in wings, subs, pasta, salads and more. Najmark is so confident that people will like his pizza, he offers new customers a free slice to try.
“Ally’s makes the best pizza, pasta and wings in Florida, if not the world,” Najmark boasts.
Najmark has even had his pizza nutritionally tested and posts the results in the restaurant. It’s so healthy, he says, he eats between six and 10 slices a day himself.
Ally’s is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It offers delivery in certain areas, including Connerton, Wilderness Lakes, Ehren Cutoff Road and beyond. Call 813-996-5551 for more information. For more information about the menu, visit Ally's online.
For those looking for a convenient dinner option, Ally’s also has take-and-bake pizzas. Najmark will prepare a pie to order for future baking. Instructions on how to bake are included with every order.