A new restaurant, Italiano's Serious Pies and Pasta, is coming to West Richland, but the owners will be familiar faces.
They're Deborah and Art Danakos of West Richland, the original owners and founders of the Apollo Greek Restaurant in Richland.
They've been in the restaurant business for 30 years. They sold the Apollo years ago and were involved in other ventures before opening Greek Islands Cuisine, a restaurant on Gage Boulevard in Richland, two years ago.
Deborah Danakos said it was their children who urged the couple to take on another restaurant, another cuisine.
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"They went to college, earned their business degrees and decided they wanted to come into the family business," she said. "We decided to invest in their future."
When another business in the strip mall at 4850 Paradise Way closed, the restaurateurs knew opportunity was knocking on their door.
"We love this area of West Richland, we live just a few blocks away," Danakos said.
It will be another month or more before Italiano's opens, likely sometime in May, because they "gutted the place" while renovating.
"But it's worth it to be able to choose everything, the tile, the paint, where the walls and columns will go. We've never been able to do that before," she said.
When done, the restaurant will seat about 50 and offer takeout. They will add delivery later. Deborah Danakos will manage Italiano's while her husband oversees Greek Islands. But the menu -- pure Italian -- is all his.
"He's pure Greek, but he cooks a lot of Italian foods too. He insists everything is fresh and made from scratch. All the dough, the sauces, they're his recipes," she said.
Their sons will work in both restaurants, she said.
"They love doing it. It's in their blood. They grew up in our restaurants, standing on crates washing dishes," she said.
Art and Deborah Danakos also worked their way up in the restaurant business.
"We met in Alaska where I worked for his cousin -- I was a waitress and Art washed dishes -- that was in 1984," she said.
As for the "serious" in the new restaurant's name, Deborah said, "that's for my husband. Art says he makes serious pizza. The Italiano's, that's from me."
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-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org