|Christo's Famous Pizza Opens Under New Ownership|
|By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff|
03:56AM / Monday, November 22, 2021
|Russell said he was happy to be part of the Holden Street business community.|
The pizzeria's dining room has been freshened to encourage patrons to set awhile.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Christo's Famous Pizza is under new management and new owner Duncan Russell hopes to improve a community favorite.
"This is one of those establishments. It is a staple in the community," Russell said. "The previous owners developed a very good clientele, and my goal now is to expand on that."
Russell, who was born in Boston but raised in Albany, N.Y., said he was visiting some family in the area and came upon Christo's.
"I met with the previous owner Mary [Giannaris], and she said the business was for sale," he said. "It kind of all started from there."
This was at the end of 2020 and with COVID-19 delaying the process, it took Russell about a year to finally open up.
Russell took over in early November and had a soft opening a couple weeks ago. Last week, he officially opened.
"[Monday] was the day we said we were back. It has been fantastic and people are happy we are open," he said. "... We had a really great lunch today, and the tables were full."
Russell said although this is his first business venture, he has worked in restaurants his entire life.
"This is my first time owning a business, but I have been in the restaurant business my entire career. It started when I was 14," he said. "My degree is from Johnson & Wales University. I have a culinary and business management degree.
Russell said the core menu will stay the same and instead of an overhaul, he wants to revamp the pizzeria's offerings with a few new additions.
"I want to d a small revamp of the menu. I won't change any of the major things, but I will be adding more vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options," he said. "I want to be able to cater to everybody. Finding a vegetarian or vegan option, especially in North Adams, is nearly impossible as a vegetarian myself."
He added that essentially everything on the menu is made in-house.
"You name it, it is fresh," he said.
Russell said the small restaurant also underwent a renovation. He said he wanted to expand the dining area to encourage more people to actually eat in. The eatery closed for nearly a week to make those changes.
"I wanted to make sure we were dine-in friendly," he said. "Mary had a fantastic takeout and delivery business but dine-in was relatively small. We did this renovation because we want to get people in here."
He said Christo's will still provide takeout.
He noted the clean, freshly painted walls were pretty vacant and said he hoped to work with local artists to liven up them up. He noted Common Folk, an artists collective, is just a few doors down and next to AR Designs Fine Art & Tattoo.
He said he was happy to be part of new energy on Holden Street.
"There is a young vibe here and that is what we are looking for," he said.