By Rachel Phillips
For more than 30 years, diners have been enjoying the age-old family recipes and hand-crafted breads and sauces offered by Village Pizzeria on Route 29 in Galway.
The restaurant, which opened in 1988, is owned and operated by Sandra Foster, along with her partner Joseph Guerrera, and is managed by her daughter, Jessica Mancinone.
Foster’s professional career began in 1969, when she became the first female licensed barber and men’s hair stylist in Waterbury, Conn. At the time, cosmetology and barbering were segregated by gender, and Foster pioneered the transition that brought into being the unisex salons that are now standard today.
A longtime proponent for the women’s movement, Foster was a critical actor in helping women find employment opportunities in the salon industry, as well as in workplaces as a whole.
“Supporting women in the workplace and as valuable members of modern society is something that I continue to dedicate my passion and experience to today,” said Foster.
For 20 years, she served her community in Waterbury after opening her own salon. However, Saratoga Race Course often brought her to the area, and she eventually decided to settle down in Galway. It was there that she began to impress people with her homemade pizza dough. Eventually she opened her own pizzeria.
After many renovations and modifications, Foster purchased some second-hand kitchen equipment and converted the former Glendale Inn into what would become a popular restaurant. As for the restaurant’s name, according to Foster, “when rummaging through an old barn I saw a beautiful sign, also for sale, that said ‘Village Pizzeria.’ It seemed very fitting.”
“We are blessed to have had a long-standing relationship with our employees who have supported the business with their loyalty to our company for 10, 15, 20 and 30 years of service,” said Foster.
Additionally, the restaurant boasts imported Italian and fresh local products. They offer a specialized menu with gluten-free alternatives to suit those with special dietary needs. On- and off-premise catering is another service.
The restaurant has also won awards for their wine.
Since the founding of Village Pizzeria, Foster has expanded her business to offer gift baskets and bottled pasta sauces through her company “Sausations.” She started the offshoot company 15 years ago. Her pasta sauces are now being mass produced and sold commercially at local Price Chopper stores and some gourmet grocers. Her gift baskets are sold year-round, and include bottled sauces, imported Italian pastas, meats and cheeses.
Foster remains committed to serving the community through her contributions to charitable causes. A survivor of breast cancer, Foster hosts an annual Toast to the TaTa’s Breast Cancer Fundraiser, which will take place July 28 at Village Pizzeria. She is also involved with the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in New York City, and has raised over $300,000 for cancer research.
She will also host a golf tournament in September in support of breast cancer fundraising.
Foster has been nominated as a Woman of Influence by Saratoga Today and is a member of Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, which works to improve the lives of women and girls locally and abroad.
For more information about Foster, her restaurant or brand, visit villagepizzeria.com.
Sandra Foster, A Womens Rights Activist, Has Operated The Village Pizzeria Over 30 Years
By Rachel Phillips