Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Gioutsos.
Hi Anthony, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m originally from the Detroit area and grew up on Detroit style pizza. I remember going to one of the originals, Loui’s Pizza, in Hazel Park when I was little. There’s nothing like it.
I met my wife Lindsey in college in Grand Rapids, MI in 2005 and we started moving around the US in 2008 together. We started in Charlotte, NC, then moved to Austin, TX where we owned and operated a food truck together, and now we live in San Clemente. In all of our travels, there’s nothing that compares to Detroit style when it comes to pizza.
I was working at a local brewery here in San Clemente, Artifex, when the pandemic started. When I was furloughed, I started making Detroit style pizzas out of my house. Lindsey has a background in advertising so she helped me build our website and book out orders in advance using our new Instagram account (@gibronispizza). We would sell out weeks in advance. People could smell Detroit style pizzas down the street and would walk up looking to order. It was a great way to build interest and see if it was a good business idea.
When we realized we were on to something…. we booked a trip to Detroit to do a tour of Detroit style pizzas from all the originals like Loui’s and Buddy’s and some newer Detroit style pizza places in town. We did a week long training with the pizza champion, Shawn Randazzo, at Detroit Style Pizza Company and learned how to perfect the dough making process (which is done fresh every morning) and how to operate in a commercial kitchen at a large scale. Shawn had stage 4 brain cancer at the time and was one of the most positive people we’ve ever met… he taught us so much and we owe a lot to him. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after the training, but we’re proud to keep his legacy going by using his techniques in the kitchen.
We came home from that trip and were ready to expand. Our friend, Justin Shea, at JD’s Bar & Kitchen offered us space to sublease at his business and we eventually took over his kitchen. We now operate out of JD’s Weds – Sun 4-9PM, late nights Friday and Saturday 10-1AM, and are opening Mondays 4-9PM starting the first week of May. Delivery will be available starting May 15.
We’re now looking at brick & mortar locations and so excited about where things have taken us this past year!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Some of our challenges have been around expansion. Keeping up with the demand, hiring a solid team, buying our equipment.
We started doing everything by hand in our small home oven. We could do four pizzas at a time. We eventually had to invest in two commercial pizza ovens and a 30 qt dough mixer… which we outgrew and had to order a 60 qt mixer.
We’ve slowly built an amazing team and we’re so proud of how hard everyone works and what a close-knit group of people we have. Everyone gets along so well which is hard to come by!
We’re just enjoying the ride and know we have some bigger challenges ahead with moving away from being a popup and opening our own location.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Our Detroit style pizzas are made by a Detroit native… a lot of people are trying to jump on the trend right now, but we grew up on the stuff and have the professional training to back up our skills.
I was basically raised in the kitchen. My Dedo (grandpa) immigrated from Greece and opened a Coney Island restaurant (a diner with breakfast, Coney hot dogs, Greek salads, etc.) in the 60s. My dad, Baba (grandma) and their cousins all lived above the restaurant. Every job I’ve had has been in a restaurant or bar.
I specialize in front of the house. My buddy and neighbor, Jacob Anderson, is our Head Chef. He joined us in our home operations to help with the dough making process in the early days. He attended the training in Detroit as well and runs all of our kitchen operations today.
We’re really proud of the unique flavor combinations we have. Not only do we have the Detroit dough making process down to an art (crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside), but we import Wisconsin brick cheese (creating that buttery, crispy cheese crust) and have specialty pizzas that you won’t find anywhere else like our Fun Guys mushroom truffle, and Colonal Barry Sanders, a Nashville Hot Chicken pizza. Of course, there’s a Greek influence from my background. We have an amazing Greek Opa! Pasta salad and April’s pizza special is The Greektown with sliced gyro, kalamata olives, Bulgarian feta and homemade tzatziki.
What matters most to you?
Family is the most important thing to me. My wife Lindsey and I welcomed our baby girl, Eleni “Leni”, in February of 2020. She’s our little sunshine. I take her hiking around San Clemente most mornings and she’s at Gibroni’s quite a bit taste testing and keeping the team in line. 🙂 I’m doing all of this for my family.
- $16 small pizza serves 1-2
- $28 large pizza serves 3-4
- $20 gluten free small pizzas serve 1-2
- Breadsticks start at $8
- Salads start at $6
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.gibronispizza.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gibronispizza
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gibronispizza
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/gibroni-s-pizza-san-clemente
Michelle Marie Photo (just the main image of Tony, Lindsey, Leni)