Local Pizzeria Thrives on Loyal Customers

Theodoros Rexho has tried to implant a little part of Greece in his pizzeria on 27 Buswell Street; not only through a Greek-influenced menu, with dishes like his authentic giros and Greek salads; but in concept as well, “the most important thing,” he says, “is that everything is fresh.”

“Fresh means more work, less money for businessmen.” Mr. Rexho says, adding that he wakes early at least two days a week to visit local markets, from Quincy Market on Fridays and Saturday mornings, to Haymarket, and Chelsea for fresh meats, seafood, and fruits. “That’s pretty much how I work.”

But Boston University students – the primary customer base for this South Campus pizzeria – find Giga’s hours to be the most attractive feature. Open from 11 to 3 at night, students line up for popular pizza slices such as the buffalo chicken, or the Commonwealth, which is Bacon, chicken, and ranch dressing; as well as the chicken parmagiana, “because we make it fresh, like nobody else makes it.” Rexho smiles.

Students are just as much a part of Giga’s as the menu and employees, he says, noting that business drops 70% over the summer, and picks up roughly 60% on evenings, more on weekends, due to students. Because of student prevelance, Giga’s prices often take into account the college student’s wallet, and a quick dinner is more than affordable.

Rexho hands Chris Lim an Italian sub from behind the counter. A Boston University Junior majoring in Engineering, he lives across the street and finds Giga’s an easy fix for a meal when strapped for time. “It’s better fare than I expected, actually,” he says, noting that the restaurant is family owned and local. “I support that more than something like a Subway.”

A vegetable pizza sold by the slice.

“I set up the business as it is, under Giga’s as a name and new concept, with a new menu adjusted to the student’s needs,” Mr. Rexho says about Giga’s beginning. “Since you know, most of our customers are students, so that’s the story.” He purchased the building where the pizzeria is now located from two brother’s who previously owned the shop, when it was My Brother’s Place,’ in 2009. While business might be better on Beacon Street, he suggested, Buswell is nonetheless a nice neighborhood with loyal customers.

Around the corner at 512 A Park Street, owners of the Morrocan and French styled restaurant Crispy Crepes express the same mentality towards their diners. “We get a lot of crepe fans, sure, but it’s the students that are our mainstay,” says Said Bendok, who co-owns the café with his brother Brahim.

The café serves a range of dishes, including crepes, paninis, and baklava at prices that are well within the means of the usual college student.

Giga’s currently employees 14 staff in two shifts, including drivers, from two on the morning shift to five in the evening. “Next week we are sending around 2,900 menus; Brookline, Allston, Cambridge, Mission Hill and Boston,” Rexho calculates in his mind and points to a ‘Drivers wanted’ sign on the front door, “so definitely we are going to need at least 4 to 5 more drivers in the long shifts at night, not during the day, but we will see.”

With 6 rival pizza places in the area – Dominoes, T’s, Sal’s on Commonwealth Avenue and on Brookline Street, Uno’s and Bertucci’s – Rexho nonetheless finds business successful for two key reasons, the hours and the food. “It doesn’t matter if there are two million pizza places around, if they like it, we’re good.”

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