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How Pictou County Pizza Began...
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Growing up in Greece he witnessed German occupation followed by civil war. His father was absent for much of the time due to accusations of being communist and incarceration.
George realized that there was no future for him in his struggling homeland. So when he was 13 years old, he and his brother ventured to Brazil and opened their own clothing store. Here he developed a passion for business and stayed there for 9 and half years.
He then returned to Greece in order to maintain his citizenship and joined the army. He needed to serve in the army for two years which is mandatory for young men of his home country.
When he finished his compulsory duty he travelled to England for three years but returned to Greece.
Greece still showed no promise for him so he then traveled to Canada where he worked in several different restaurants in the Montreal area. From dishwasher to manager he learned what he needed to run a restaurant of his own. During this period George and his brother had been making pizza sauce for various employers. After tweaking it and making it their own, they realized they had something that tasted really good. George’s goal was to then have a restaurant of his own. While working in Montreal he came across a Greek man who was visiting from Pictou County, Nova Scotia. He got to chatting and asked him if there was an ocean near by…the man said “yes, I actually have a cottage on the beach”. George then asked about the community… is it busy… is there any opportunity there for a restaurant…. the acquaintance responded that there were lots of people and opportunity. George then asked the man if he minded if he could come with him to see this place near the ocean to which the man agreed.
With his new friend, George and his brother went to see Pictou County and he really liked the location. While in town he saw that there weren’t any pizza restaurants and that pizza was almost unheard of. George quickly realized he could open a restaurant and make a living. He searched high and low for a place to open up a restaurant. He even looked in Glace Bay and Sydney. One day he was on Foord Street, Stellarton and saw a place for sale. Partnering with his brother they opened up the first Pizza Restaurant in Pictou County. It was first called `Sands` (spelled SANNS) because of the ocean close by and his love for the beach. That name only lasted a month or so because a man from Sydney informed him that the name had been registered by someone else in Nova Scotia. So he quickly replaced it with Sam`s in honor of his father. His father’s name was Spyro but in Canada this name became anglicized as Sam – so it fit perfect.
At first people would not try the Pizza because they had no idea what it was so George would tell them… one day you will be waiting in line for my pizza. Pizza quickly caught on.
Business was picking up so George and his brother wanted their family here with them. Over the years they brought most of their family to Pictou County. This included brothers, sisters, and nephews who worked in various capacities for the restaurant and restaurants of their own. Also during this time, upon encouragement from his brother in Greece, George began writing to a girl from an area near where he grew up. One thing led to another and he flew to Greece and married his wife Dina. George returned to Canada with his new wife and started a family of his own and had four children Angela, Spyro, Yota and Maria.
Over the years Sam`s has seen many changes. The business started out as a little spot in the 60’s but in the early 80’s George, his brother and nephew decided to expand by purchasing the building next door. Both buildings were torn down to make room for what stands today, The Original Sam`s Pizza in Stellarton. The dining room has seen a few facelifts, the night club and pub have come and gone, a Reception/ Ballroom is now located in the old bar area. Along with the restaurant and take-out, people have been taking Sam`s Pizza all over the world and now UPS is being used to ship it all over the country for the people that crave that taste from home.
At the age of 79, George still makes the Pizza Sauce for all his customers. The Original Sam`s Pizza is currently operated by George`s son Spyro and daughter Yota. His brown sauce recipe, in its various forms, can be found throughout the county at numerous pizza businesses.
TO ORDER, CALL 902-752-5655
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Thursday: 4pm - 11pm
Friday: 11am - 12am
Saturday: 4pm - 12am
Sunday: 4pm - 11pm