THE HUB: Williston sees pizza boom

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

August 15, 2013

Williston residents are seeing an influx of pizza choices, with two new restaurants in town.

Vermont TapHouse, specializing in wood-fired pizza and local brews, opened last week in Taft Corners in the former Ponderosa Steakhouse. Deep-dish pizza joint Williston Village Pizza is set to open in mid-September, in the spot formerly occupied by Rocky’s Pizza and Vermont Pizza Company.

Manager Pam Audette said Vermont TapHouse has been “busy since the first minute.”

“People are liking the pizza a lot,” she said. “We’re really different. People can come in and just share a pizza and have a really great pint of beer. We have everything.”

Jay LaFountain, bar manager at Vermont TapHouse, said the restaurant—which strives to support local farms and businesses—is a local choice “right in the middle of corporate Williston.”

Of the restaurant’s 24 taps, 16 feature Vermont beer and two carry Vermont cider.

“I can really put our Vermont beer, which is some of the best beer in the world, right up front,” he said.

Along with wood-fired pizza, the restaurant offers oven-roasted sandwiches, salads, desserts created by pastry chef Rockzan Williams and a full bar.

Kosta Makris, along with business partner and friend Timothy LaPlante Jr., is set to open Williston Village Pizza.

Makris has been in the restaurant business since he was a preteen, helping out in his parents’ restaurants, which include Rutland Village Pizza. Altogether, his family has opened more than 40 pizza restaurants. Makris himself previously owned two other restaurants.

“My aunts and uncles and cousins have pizza places all over New England,” he said. “I’ve been doing it my whole life.”

Along with deep-dish pizza, Makris and LaPlante plan to serve pasta, subs, salads, Philly cheesesteaks and ice cream, along with beer and wine. Makris said he hasn’t determined the restaurant’s prices yet, but they will be “competitive.”

“We want to cater to the town,” Makris said. “It will be a family place.”

Makris said he and LaPlante, a veteran, are considering offering military discounts or specials.

“We’re here not only to do business, but we want to be friends with people, too,” Makris said. “Get to know everyone and put a new, good product out.”

Makris said he loves the busy pace and friendly feel of restaurant work.

“My brain doesn’t shut off all day,” he said. “I like dealing with people. I love it.”