Recipe provides legacy, livelihoodWritten by Scott McKimmy | | email@example.com
The friend who served as best man for Jim Karahalios’ wedding in 1970 earned the title. He gave Karahalios an original pizza recipe that helped launch a legacy one year later when he founded J & G Pizza Palace in Sylvania.
Three-and-a-half decades, a dozen or so cities, a few states, several pizza joints and many thousands of house specials later, the old recipe has reappeared at Pappouli’s Pizza in Sylvania, where Karahalios’ children started the business to keep him active.
The recipe has followed the Karahalios as they moved from Illinois to Tennessee, Ohio, back to Tennessee and back to Ohio, starting pizzerias along the way. In the latest move, he left his 65-acre farm, which he still visits occasionally, on the urging of his wife, Georgia; their children decided to plant stakes in the Buckeye State.
“My kids, they like Ohio; they all moved here,” Karahalios said. “My wife, she likes to be with the kids, and she said, ‘We have to go there.’ ”
Business startups have become a matter of tradition in a family where one of two daughters co-owns an Italian restaurant and the son owns a gas station and supermarket. The Karahalios family has opened stores in Missouri and Kentucky as well.
He recounted the variety of consumer markets where he has done business, including a military base near Nashville. The base closed years ago, and he tucked the recipe away, converting the plaza to a shopping center and renting space.
Most of the pizza places Karahalios established still exist and use the same ingredients prepared the same way. Pappouli’s and J & G operate on Main Street in Sylvania, separated by less than a mile of pavement and a good chunk of a customer base. Karahalios said the city has a big enough market, especially considering its growth since he left a couple decades ago.
“When I came here to Sylvania, it wasn’t a big city like it is now,” he said. “I think there are plenty of people here for both of us.”
Meanwhile, he said, he’ll enjoy his time with local friends, serving Greek food and waiting for a liquor license so he can add beer and wine to his menu.
“If my kids decide to open something up then fine,” Karahalios said. “If I was 30 years old, I’d do it.”