A vacant building on East Third Street that used to be a Cassano’s Pizza soon will welcome a new pizzeria whose owner hopes to build on the popularity of his diner food next door.
East Side Pizza Subs & Salads is expected to open at 2418 E. Third St., possibly in late February or March.
The pizzeria is next to Abner’s Restaurant, a diner known for its fresh chicken and other selections.
Christos Tsamasiros owns both businesses and plans to sell and deliver some of Abner’s food items through East Side Pizza.
Tsamasiros not only made his mark on East Dayton with Abner’s. He also started Big Daddy’s mini-mart and owned the building that is home to Taqueria Mixteca, one of Dayton’s most celebrated Mexican restaurants.
East Side Pizza will move into a space formerly occupied by Cassano’s, which closed and relocated less than two years ago. Tsamasiros bought the property for about $40,000 in May 2017.
East Side Pizza will sell Dayton-style pizzas, meaning they will have the square cut. He said the pizzas will be a higher quality than the well-known but cheap fast-food options out there.
Salads and other food items will be made fresh, and East Side will sell and deliver chicken and other Abner menu items that hold-up, he said.
Chicken is probably 30 percent of Abner’s sales, and has become increasingly popular because it is fresh and never frozen and it isn’t dipped or battered until it is ordered, he said.
“My saying here is, ‘We don’t serve billions, we serve you,’” he said.
Abner’s has a drive-thru window but doesn’t currently deliver. Tsamasiros has owned Abner’s Restaurant at 2424 E. Third St. since 1992.
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Tsamasiros, 51, has a long history in the food industry.
A Dayton Daily News article from nearly 40 years ago shows then-12-year-old Tsamasiros helping his father serve burgers at Wympee’s Diner at East Third Street and Wayne Avenue.
His father, Jim Tsamasiros, owned and operated Wympee’s until about 1990.
Tsamasiros in his youth also worked at his father’s other business, the Chicago Delicatessen, in the Northtown Shopping Center.
Tsamasiros, a Wright State University graduate, later on worked for a variety of popular national chain restaurants in management and other positions.
Tsamasiros bought the building at 1609 E. Third St.that would become Taqueria Mixteca in 1999.
Previously, it had been Chuck’s Burgers.
Tsamasiros and a partner briefly ran a business out of it called Sam’s Soup, Salads and Sandwiches.
But he bought the partner out and then leased the property to the owners of Taqueria Mixteca. The Mexican restaurant opened around 2005 and the owners bought the property on a land contract.
Tsamasiros also used to have two shops in the downtown Greater Dayton RTA hub: The Greek Deli and a carryout.