The Margherita pizza from Olly's Pizzeria and Diner

Olly's Pizzeria and Diner / Facebook
Pizza News

This Pizzeria Fired Tina Asstafan. Now She’s the Owner.

Tina and her husband, Samer, are pizza industry veterans who have come full-circle in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

In the 1980s, Tina Asstafan got summarily fired from her job at Olly’s Pizzeria and Diner. Now she’s the owner, along with the man who inadvertently got her fired—her husband, Samer.

The Asstafans took ownership of Olly’s, located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, in April, according to the Valley Breeze. The restaurant serves up deep-dish, thin-crust and grilled pizzas, along with subs, sandwiches, salads, calzones, pastas, wraps and more.

As a teenager, Tina was working at Olly’s and dating Samer, who worked for a competing shop owned by his family. “The original owner—his name was Pete—found out that she was talking to me,” Samer told the Valley Breeze.

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According to Samer, the owner fired Tina, who then took a job with the pizzeria owned by Samer’s family. The young sweethearts eventually got married and started a family while also running pizza shops of their own, including Arnold’s and La Nuova Pizzeria. Last year, they sold a third pizzeria they owned, Elm Street Pizza, and decided to retire. But that turned out to be too boring.

When Olly’s went up for sale, presumably under an owner that wasn’t Pete, the Asstafans jumped at the opportunity to buy it. “I said to Tina, ‘It is a full-circle story. You started here, and we’re gonna end here,’” Samer said in the Valley Breeze interview.

Since buying the pizzeria, they’ve changed the dough and sauce recipes. Their “Ollywood Pizza” menu includes the American Sniper (bleu cheese, fried Buffalo chicken and a cheese blend); The Godfather (eggplant, tomatoes, ricotta, garlic, fresh basil, olive oil and a cheese blend); and The Ringer (black angus shaved steak, onion rings and a cheese blend).

Meanwhile, Samer said he’s just happy to be working with his wife again. “She’s the facilitator,” he said in the Valley Breeze interview. “She’s awesome. No matter what catastrophe happens, she’s the one that, you know, fixes it.”