Campisi's Fort Worth offers a variety of pizza at its 6150 Camp Bowie Blvd. location. (Courtesy photo | Campisi's Facebook)

Statistics show that second-generation food businesses can often close for a number of reasons. Studies reveal that “Only 30% of family businesses survive into a second generation, and it declines to only 17% once it reaches third generations,” said Kathyann Kessler Overbeke, principal of GPS, or Generation Planning Strategies. 

Campisi’s, for example, is a family-owned establishment that dates back to 1946 in Dallas. Back then “Papa Carlo” served the now famous oblong pizzas at a bar he owned called Idle Hour. As the story goes, the pizzas served at the bar had become so popular that the recipes for the Sicilian pies followed Carlo to The Egyptian Lounge, a restaurant he purchased in 1950. 

Unlike some who begin businesses, the elder Campisi was intentionally looking for a legacy opportunity to build for his family, and he did just that. The Fort Worth location opened a decade ago at 6150 Camp Bowie Blvd. and was the company’s 9th expansion behind Dallas and surrounding suburbs and first outside Dallas. 

The collective of Campisi’s restaurants holds nearly 80 years and four generations of recipes, colorful stories and opportunities for families to create their own lasting memories around a warm and inviting table that still serves the Campisi multigenerational family’s signature Italian family dishes.

What’s your favorite dish to grab? 

One Fort Worth food entrepreneur and chef who prospered at the peak of both Segregation and Post World War II era, holds iconic status far beyond the Lone Star state. This Black woman, written about previously, went on to inspire an immeasurable amount of people through her tutelage of students and staff of a camp, Fort Worth ISD and collegiate campuses. She also left a fascinating template for her own familial bloodline to follow. Chef Lucille Bishop Smith birthed a lineage that embraces their family history in more ways than one. 

Her great grandson Ben Williams carved out his own path starting the first Black-owned distillery in Texas —Highway Vodka. After going through numerous testing batches, co-founders Williams and Wendell Robbins III approved  the final product in 2019 after crafting and tweaking recipes and formulations for eight arduous years before this sipable, hemp-based product was ready to be introduced to the world. 

Immediately after consuming this distinct liquor, I took note of the smooth spirit with a very pleasant mouth-feel that finishes slightly sweet. My preference was over ice and the array of cocktails provided online at I can definitely see the “Highway Barn Water” or the “Hana Highway” quickly becoming your favorite summertime cocktail at your next backyard barbecue. Both are refreshing, but the former provides a nice balance of light flavors that marry well with the natural earthiness that the hemp provides. 

The pair’s proprietary process of this craft vodka is substantially distinctive. The website of this duo reminds us of their mission, which seems to echo that of William’s ancestor Chef Lucille, “…to inspire and empower the next generation of visionaries. Highway implores you to #ForgeYourLane.”

Deah Mitchell writes about more than food. You can email her at

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Deah Berry Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Nostalgia Black Group, a multimedia company whose core business is preserving Black cultural history through writing, public speaking, tourism and technology....