Cypress family-owned business still going after 40-years despite hurricanes, arctic freeze, pandemic

"When we moved to Texas there wasn't a whole lot of Italian restaurants," said Francesca Cicciarella owner of Giannia's Pizza.

She and her husband Salvatore opened their first Luigi's restaurant in 1983 in Inwood Forest.

"We've got to survive it was hard," he said.

The couple opened two more Luigi's and they worked alongside their son and daughter.

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"There's a lot of disagreements because they have their own opinion, they're younger than we are the old fashion way they're the new generation, so we put it together," Francesca said.

"We're a Sicilian family we're like we're not yelling we're just talking," said their daughter Giannia.

The family-owned business weathered hurricanes and the deep freeze.

The pandemic became the most difficult to survive as Chef Salvatore contracted COVID.

"I'm in a room. I don't know what I'm doing over here. Then the question I ask ‘where my family is?' I don't see anybody nobody is allowed to come in," Salvatore said.

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"All the hospitals were full people were in the hallways no family could go in," Francesca said.

"We didn't see my father for 55 days, he was double-ventilated," said Giannia. "And we maintained the restaurant business, the three of us."

The family created a drive-thru in the shopping center parking lot.

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"That's the reason why we survived is to create another way of doing business during the pandemic," Giannia said.

The couple tried retiring.

"We end up coming back we love Texas I don't know what it is, but it pulled me back," said Francesca.

The 81-year-old Salvatore and his 74-year-old wife still work six days a week.

"I like to do this," Salvatore said. "It doesn't matter if a customer spends 5 dollars or one hundred dollars, I'm here to serve people until God takes me, I'll do this."