WOONSOCKET – It’s their fourth pizzeria, but Samer and Tina Asstafan say they’re excited to make Olly’s Pizzeria and Diner at 204 South Main St. their permanent and final home.
“We work hard, work so hard, we’re both here every day,” Asstafan told The Breeze. “I feel that for a business to flourish, the owners have to work.”
It all started, said Asstafan and her husband, when Samer was working for a competing shop on Park Avenue in Woonsocket in the 1980s. At the time, his soon-to-be wife Tina was working at Olly’s as a teenager.
“The original owner, his name was Pete, found out that she was talking to me. We were going out,” said Samer.
According to Samer, the other owner fired Tina, and soon after she was offered a job to work at his family’s pizzeria.
After getting married, raising a family, there was a point, Samer said, where he started working security. At that point, the couple had also owned other shops such as Arnold’s and La Nuova Pizzeria. The couple owned Elm Street Pizza in Woonsocket until they sold it last year. They had decided to retire until they said they quickly got bored.
“This came up for sale. I said to Tina, it is a full-circle story. You started here, and we’re gonna end here,” said Samer.
Since the couple took over in April, they said, business has been growing. The Asstafans describe Olly’s as the original “Godfather of all pizza shops,” and said they wanted to come in and embrace that reputation.
“I’m gonna make the original owners very proud of what they started in 1974,” said Samer.
He said when it comes to the recipes, he’s been taking feedback from the customers regarding the sauces and has also changed the dough recipe.
The Asstafans, of Woonsocket, said they have made it their mission to be a business that partners with the community to make it a better place.
“We already reached out to many organizations, and we wanna give back, you know, we, we support the schools. We support them,” said Samer.
“The community that supports you, you should give it back to them. And that’s, that’s our philosophy. Great food, great service,” he said.
When asked what it’s like working together all these years, Samer commented that he’s only content when his wife is there working with him.
“She’s the facilitator. She’s awesome. She, no matter what catastrophe happens, she’s the one that, you know, fixes it,” he said.
Sam I am, I was so glad to hear about your new adventure that you and your wife have taken on. I wish both of you the best. You guys will definitely make a positive change to that business like you have with the others. I will be there to visit and support your new beginning. SAM I AM SHOULD GIVE YOU A HINT WHO POSTED THIS. Talk to you soon.
The Asstafan’s are great people, and make the best pizza!! My family is so happy that they are back! Wishing them all the best and looking forward to enjoying their menu!!
The godfather of pizza shops? How to tell someone you’re from Woonsocket without telling someone you’re from Woonsocket.
I also worked there in the 80`s as a delivery driver. We didn`t even need to use our own vehicles, Ford Escorts were supplied to us for delivery use.
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