Neighborhood favorite still going strong after 30 years
Ryan D’Avignon’s secret to great subs, great pizza and community staying power is to be constantly involved within the community.
“We’re just doing what we’ve always done,” D’Avignon said of the restaurant’s 30-year anniversary in The Woodlands. “We like to stay in touch with our customers and the community on a local level.”
D’Avignon said he enjoys seeing customers who started eating at Greek Tony’s as children and who have now grown into adults with their own families.
Little Leaguers of the past and now-grown local youth soccer players linger at D’Avignon’s soccer pub-cum-pizza joint that still resides in Sawdust Plaza Shopping Center, albeit a few doors down from its original location off of Budde Road.
D’Avignon said the restaurant’s wall-sized projection TV screen is always on and shows a myriad of sporting events, while several other TVs offer diners with different sporting tastes options. One side of the restaurant has a small bar, and more of a pub-like atmosphere, while the other features more walk-in counter service.
Photos of children’s sports teams—some new, some years old and faded—adorn the walls alongside English Premier League and Major League Soccer team banners, flags, and Houston Dynamo memorabilia. D’Avignon said he grew up with the sport, like many other area youngsters, many of whom are still in The Woodlands.
“There’s people who have been coming in here since 1985,” D’Avignon said.
In 1982, the D’Avignon family moved to The Woodlands area from Muskegon, Michigan, where Greg D’Avignon had a best friend named Tony Moulatsiotis, who indeed happened to be Greek.
D’Avignon said his father did a lot of factory and production line work before meeting Moulatsiotis, who taught him the [pizza] business.
Though both franchises share the same logo—that of a round-faced moustachioed man in a hat—they are completely separate, merely sharing a common name, similar menu and friendship.
D’Avignon said there are anywhere from 15-20 Greek Tony’s in the Muskegon area, but his family’s remains the only one outside the state. Family, D’Avignon said, has always been at the heart of Greek Tony’s.
“So many people have grown up with us, or were coached by my dad, or their kids played soccer with him,” D’Avignon said. Greg D’Avignon was Greek Tony’s original owner. He passed away in July 2011 of lymphoma.
Greg D’Avignon was known by many throughout the community as a soccer coach, Little League supporter and a community activist. His son said he plans to continue that legacy.
“We’re still constantly making sure we’re involved and are a part of the community,” D’Avignon said. “That’s how my dad built this business.”
Little has changed at the family hangout and pizza joint, and D’Avignon plans to keep it that way. He said no more than a few potential menu modifications are on the horizon, and the business will remain family run and family centric.
The most popular menu items remain unchanged as well, with the Italian sub, various speciality pizzas and pepperoni pizzas among the most popular over the 30 years Greek Tony’s has been in business.
D’Avignon has children of his own and said he will support whatever career they wish to pursue in life, but he hopes they will want to be involved with Greek Tony’s.
“I’ll support them in what they want to do, whatever that is, but we’ll absolutely always be family-run and operated,” he said. “We’ll be here.”