Giovanni’s celebrates 70 years in Fairborn

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Giovanni’s Pizzeria é Ristorante Italiano is celebrating 70 years of serving the Fairborn community with special dinners, a chance to win 1953 pricing, free desserts and more through Sunday, Nov. 19.

“It’s an honor,” said owner Cassaundra Spaziani. “The restaurant business is so hard. It’s a labor of love. If you don’t love it, you’ll never make it in this industry.”

The history of Giovanni’s

The restaurant was founded in 1953 by the DiPasquale family who offered a small menu of pizza, spaghetti, cheese ravioli, sandwiches and salad. Giovanni’s was originally located on the corner of the building they are housed in today and mostly offered carryout. At some point, the restaurant moved to 215 W. Main St and opened a full dining room.

Spaziani’s dad, Tony, purchased the restaurant 24 years ago. He added a party room, changed the marinara sauce and Italian sausage to his family’s recipes and introduced Italian bread.

“As far as the food goes, so much is the same,” Spaziani said. “We do try to introduce new things to stay current and attract new guests as often as possible.”

Memories at the restaurant

She recalled being 12 years old when her dad purchased the restaurant.

“He used to make me get dress up,” Spaziani said. “I know that we’re a casual mom and pop pizza place, but I always had a dress on, tights, dress shoes and my hair up.”

Spaziani rolled silverware in her early days, but eventually started making pizza, bussing tables, washing dishes and working all the time with her dad throughout high school and college. She left Giovanni’s to work in the corporate restaurant industry and returned home about 10 years ago. At that time, her dad began to step away from the restaurant. He later died on Monday, Aug. 29, 2023 at the age of 74 from complications after a mild heart attack.

“I think this is the best gift my dad could have given me,” Spaziani said.

Some of her favorite memories at the restaurant are with her dad. She recalled a night about 22 years ago when her dad had to step in and cook. She said customers were waiting for their food for an hour, but no one was mad because they were having fun. Her father had “a larger than life personality” and encouraged their customer to talk to him while he cooked.

Another memory she had featured Tim, the restaurant’s kitchen manager. She recalled her dad being “very involved” in his training — making sure he could cook his favorite dishes, Carbonara and Linguine with Clams. She said they spent hours making sure Tim could cook them to perfection.

How the restaurant is celebrating 70 years

As Spaziani thinks about the restaurant celebrating 70 years, she said it’s humbling and exciting.

“I’m very proud of all of the employees that work here,” Spaziani said. “My people really genuinely want people to come in, have a great experience, enjoy their food and want them to come back. They understand that we need them to come back in order for us to keep doing this.”

Here’s what happened this week at Giovanni’s:

Tuesday, Nov. 14 — From 5 to 8 p.m. the restaurant will serve items from its 1953 menu including pizza, sandwiches, spaghetti and cheese ravioli. Customers will have a chance to play a game and win free food, 1953 prices, gift certificates, shirts or other door prizes.

Wednesday, Nov. 15 — Starting at 5 p.m. the restaurant will offer a four course, create-your-own meal featuring an appetizer, salad, dinner and dessert for $39.99 to remember Spaziani’s dad. Along with the meal, customers can get a 9-ounce glass of wine from his private collection.

“A lot of these wines are extremely expensive and I don’t want them to go to waste,” Spaziani said. “I would just rather someone enjoy them.”

Thursday, Nov. 16 — More games and prizes.

Friday, Nov. 17 an Saturday Nov. 18 — Complimentary desserts from Cake, Hope and Love in Beavercreek.

Sunday, Nov. 19 — From noon to 5 p.m. Giovanni’s will feature an Italian Buffet for $19.95 per person. The buffet will include pizzas, pastas, salads, breadsticks, blimp subs, desserts and more.

For more information, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page or call 937-878-1611.

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