By Breeana Greenberg
The owners of aPizza Doho agree that opening Dana Point’s newest pizzeria was a labor of love.
Marcos Costas, Christopher Christian and his nephew, Anthony Christian, held a soft opening on Sept. 21 after three months of work to make their shared dream of bringing authentic aPizza to Dana Point a reality.
“It’s definitely a passion; it’s a labor of love,” Costas said.
Located in The Row off Pacific Coast Highway, aPizza Doho is all about honoring East Coast traditions—namely, Connecticut’s style of pizza. Even the name aPizza is a nod to Connecticut, where it’s pronounced “abeets.”
“Back when all the Italians immigrated over to the East Coast, all they had was just a simple craft to make pizza,” Anthony explained.
A traditional aPizza is just dough, tomato sauce and pecorino, Anthony said. The dough is wedge-shaped, so “when you pick up a slice, it should hold all the way through, so the undercarriage should carry the toppings even in the middle, and should have a nice bite to it, as well.”
aPizza Doho has a “a New Haven kind of soul to it,” Costas said, and Christopher and Anthony’s dough is made in-house, fresh, every day.
“Anthony has been making dough every day since he’s moved out here,” Costas said. “That’s a labor of love.”
In choosing an entrée, customers have the option of either selecting a house pizza or a build-your-own. aPizza Doho does not sell pizza by the slice, Christopher noted, and their pizzas are all a standard 15 inches.
“We feel that when you order one of these (house pizzas), it represents us really well,” Christopher said. “If you’re a little courageous, a little adventurous, one of these will just knock you back, for sure.”
The idea of bringing a Connecticut-style pizzeria to Pacific Coast Highway sprung from conversations between Christopher and Costas—both restaurateurs.
Christopher, who served as vice president of culinary operations at Fox Restaurant Concepts, would frequently eat at Glasspar in Dana Point—a restaurant that Costas opened.
“I always like to touch the table and ask how everything is, and I always like to recognize people—‘Good to see you again,’ ” Costas said of his restaurant management style. “That’s how I met Chris. And he’s so humble, but he kept giving me little pieces of his background that I put two and two together like, wait a minute, that’s Fox Restaurant Concepts.”
“I started peppering him with questions; I thought, this guy’s a guru,” Costas said, gushing about Christopher. “For Dana Point to have a gentleman like him with his background and all his knowledge, not creating recipes is a horrific casualty, because what he’s done here with this food is amazing.”
When Costas, who opened Glasspar as a managing partner and Salt Creek Grille as a general manager, took over the space that was once home to Parallel Pizza, he wanted to pull in Christopher to co-run the new pizza concept.
“We sat down for coffee, I told (Christopher) what was going on in the building, and he said, ‘I’m in,’ ” Costas recalled. “Then he became my biggest investor, and he’s done all this work from the kindness of his heart.”
Before Parallel’s closing, Costas had enjoyed its New Haven-style pizza.
“COVID kind of sent everything in a different spiral for different businesses, so when the opportunity came to purchase it and was offered to me, I then asked Chris if we could do our version of East Coast Pizza,” Costas said.
In just three months, Christopher, Anthony and Costas worked tirelessly, from putting together the menu to deciding and assembling the furniture in order to prepare aPizza Doho for last week’s soft opening.
“We did it ourselves,” Christopher said. “We screwed the tables together, we put the chairs together, we painted. We are restaurateurs, we’re contractors, we’re interior designers. We were all in, every single day, and we turned the space in two and a half months. Literally, we didn’t have a construction team; we were the construction team.”
The three co-owners are “very hands-on owner-operators, to say the least,” Christopher said.
After celebrating its soft opening, aPizza Doho now looks to be the community pizzeria.
“I want to try to be the neighborhood restaurant, for their pizza and their dinner,” Costas said. “The visibility of all the windows, it’s cool to be from the East Coast and say we now run aPizza Doho on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point.”
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at email@example.com
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