Although Papa’s Pizza’s location on New Leicester Highway is removed from the bustle of the Asheville food scene, owner Kostas Dotsikas‘s vision is one familiar to downtown foodies: Greek dishes made from scratch with local ingredients.
Dotsikas bought Papa’s Pizza in 2002 and runs it with the help of his sister; wife, Amy Dotsikas; and parents, Jimmy and Tina Dotsikas, who are originally from Greece. Now both Dotsikas’s wife and sister are due to give birth any day, and his father is out due to an injury, but Dotsikas continues to run his independent pizza joint with care.
Mountain Xpress: You’ve been in business for 13 years. To what do you attribute your success?
Kostas Dotsikas: My dad. It’s because of him I’m here. He gave me the opportunity to do it. He came from Greece with nothing, without even speaking the language. I feel I have to be just as good, if not better, than where he came from.
What sets apart Papa’s Pizza from other pizza places?
Dotsikas: We do it all fresh. Fresh dough, fresh cheese, we cook our own pizza toppings, we use fresh vegetables. The sauce is homemade. We make our own tortellinis, raviolis, desserts, cheesecakes — I mean, everything.
How does your family help you run Papa’s Pizza?
Dotsikas: My mom usually does most of the prep work and cooks also. My dad does the same thing, and my wife usually runs the front of the house. So, we’re pretty involved. I have a sister, she was helping me out, but she’s pregnant, too.
Your website says you use only local vendors and distributors. Why is buying local products important to you?
Dotsikas: Because we’re local. I would rather support the community that supports me. That’s the way I look at it.
What exactly do you make from scratch?
Dotsikas: Pretty much everything. People should eat good food. I provide them a service, and I want them to feel like they sat at home and made it themselves. We take a lot of pride in what we do here, and I feel like it shows in the food.
What are some of your most popular dishes?
Dotsikas: That’s a lot to list. We sell a lot of Philly subs, pizza, chicken. We sell a lot of chicken gyros. Cheesecake, we sell a lot of that New York-style cheesecake.
What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
Dotsikas: I like doing it all. I’d say everything. I enjoy it all.
Papa’s Pizza is located at 429 New Leceister Highway in Asheville.