Pizza in the Blood
By Mike Bisceglia
Seacoast Scene, May 29, 2013
Owners, John and Tanya Gioldasis, have a serious case of
"pizza in the blood" and they couldn't be happier.
"That looks like the place," John Gioldasis said to Dimitrios, his brother.
"You're not going to do any better," Dimitrios chuckled. ""Let's go inside to look at the home of Zesto Pizza!"
"It was really as simple as that," said John Gioldasis. "It was the summer of '96, and my brother and I happened to be driving through town. We grew up in a 'pizza' family, so we knew good pizza and good locations. In an instant, we knew that this location next to the municipal parking lot on High Street would be absolutely ideal."
"I rented the building immediately and moved upstairs. I had phone calls to make . . . lots of phone calls. I have lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and, collectively, the family has over forty pizza parlors all over New England. Everyone knew I was looking for a place of my own, and here in Hampton is just perfect for my family and me!"
Almost immediately after opening the door to Zesto, John met Tanya. In short order, the two became husband and wife.
"John is from Haverhill. I'm from Saugus. We're North Shore people, so living here in Hampton is just perfect for us. We have two children now, Sophia, 8, and Gregorio, 6. We have a good life here, but it requires a lot of work and a good deal of balance between home and work."
"It certainly is like having two families," John chuckled. "Of course, my wife and children are everything, but I have the family of my customers. I know all of my regular customers by name. I know what they are going to order before they even walk in the door. In many cases, I can tell you what days and what time of day they will drop in. Now, those are what I call regular family members!"
"There are now three generations of Gioldasis in the Northeast. My grandfather came from the small village of St. George, near the city of Karpenisi in the mountains of Greece. He returned home to tell everyone he had found a great new land. Shortly, eight brothers and sisters arrived. I guess you could say that we found our niche in the pizza, because that's the kind of work we've been doing from Vermont to Rhode Island."
All Zesto pizzas are made with fresh ingredients and are hand-made. When asked about how many Zesto pizzas are sold in a given year, John and Tanya immediately began punching numbers into a calculator. Moments later, the amount appeared somewhat of a surprise.
"We sell about 21,000 pizzas a year," John said beaming. The pride was evident in his voice. "We put a lot of care into our work, and I suppose it is true that people do recognize quality. We are delighted our customers love our creations."
How much do folks enjoy Zesto (which is Greek for "hot") pizza? In the last six years, John and his happy crew of ten have won in every possible category for pizza in the Rotary Club's People's Choice Award.
"Over the years, we have had just wonderful employees here. Honestly, we couldn't make a go of it without them. All of our workers have begun while going to high school, and we are excited to see our 'family' come back to us while on vacation from college to once again work for us. They do warm our hearts."
But, is it just the pizza that beckons folks from far and near to the comfortable eatery?
"The grilled chicken Caesar salad is just next door to heaven," said Kevin Sprague. His friend, Brandon Higgins couldn't have agreed more.
Melanie Chaplin, of Hampton Internal Medicine, added, "I love the pizza, but I found I thrive on the grilled chicken Caesar salad."
When asked if the pizza business was discussed at family gathering, John laughed. "I suppose we talk pizza. It's only natural. That is what we do, but we are a close family and we are always delighted to see one another. Pizza is in my blood, but more so is the love Tanya and I have for our family. Life is good here at Zesto!