It is hard to believe that during these hard economic times, two new restaurants would open in Carolina Forest. However, both owners are confident that they made a great decision to bring their businesses to the area and believe things will work out just fine.
Around the beginning of the year, Carolina Forest welcomed Mike Zalloum, owner of Boston Pizza-Plus, to the community. Zalloum grew up in Italy and Jerusalem with an Italian grandmother who taught him to make her special pizza sauce and didn't quit teaching him until it was perfect.
In the 1970s his family moved to Massachusetts to be around family and he finally ended up in Myrtle Beach after he came to visit a couple of nephews who were in the military. He knew this would be a great community to open a restaurant.
After a few years in downtown Myrtle Beach, he talked to his friend about opening his business in one of his Carolina Forest locations. His friend - and now landlord - Barry Deitzman thought this would be an outstanding location for him to open Boston Pizza-Plus.
From a landlord's point of view, he knew Zalloum was an honest person and businessman, not to mention had an excellent pizza recipe.
"Many customers from the North will try his pizza and say it's like going home," Deitzman said. "It tastes like pizza from Boston." Needless to say, with an area full of transplants from the North, Zalloum has many loyal customers. After witnessing the success in such a short period of time, the owner is considering expanding the outdoor space and adding a nice deck for patrons to enjoy the stream and trees while eating.
Zalloum takes pride in the facts that he only uses the freshest ingredients, makes his own sauce, meatballs and dough from scratch, and cooks in an authentic stone oven. He slow cooks his own roast beef for subs and only will slice it when it is ordered. He uses family recipes that were created more than 45 years ago.
The prices are tough to beat, like $7.50 for a lasagna dinner with garlic bread. Boston Pizza-Plus will deliver to the area, and it offers a dining room that can be used for lunch, dinner or private parties. Zalloum will even let kids make their own pizzas on their birthday. The menu offers homemade tiramisu and cannolis, salads, sandwiches, many types of Italian dishes, and delicious pizza.
"I am very proud to be in Carolina Forest. The people here are so nice," said Zalloum. "I love being around people. I suppose that is why I am in this business. I am always here in the restaurant so I can make sure everything is perfect for my guests. I wish all businesses to succeed. We all have families; we all need to be successful."
Boston Pizza-Plus is open seven days a week. Zalloum invites everyone to come in and watch him "throw the dough." Call 236-4777 to place an order or talk about catering. It is located at 4012 Postal Way.
New tenant for Kroger plaza
Another restaurant recently opened as well, Dominick's 812.
During the 1960s, Dominick Devarti opened a restaurant in Ann Arbor, Mich., called Dominick's 812. Although it is still open today, many years ago he sold off the pizza shop part to what is now called Dominos.
Recently, another Dominick's 812 opened in Carolina Forest's Kroger plaza. Dominick's 812 is a welcome sight for many who live and work around the area. Lindsey Ohem, an employee at Kroger, said, "I love it here. I actually eat here almost every day, it is one of my favorite places to eat."
They offer pizza by the slice or entire pies, subs, stromboli, huge salads, cheap kids meals and the soon-to-be-famous Boci-ball.
Owner Mary Helen Vargo loves being located in Carolina Forest. She thinks the people have been so welcoming and kind, and she treats her employees the same way.
"We are closed on Sundays so that our employees can attend church. If we can't make it being open six days a week, we aren't going to make it in seven," Vargo said.
Occasionally Vargo makes cupcakes and gives them to customers free. She sends cupcakes with deliveries as an extra little surprise to residents in Carolina Forest.
Vargo and her husband moved to the beach 30 years ago from Bryson City, N.C. After 13 years of owning and operating Painters Ice Cream in Garden City Beach, they sold it and decided to open this business.
Brandon Crisp, the manager and Vargo's son, said, "I love being able to serve the best food we possibly can for a reasonable price. We offer a good product that people look forward to having again. We are looking forward to the spring when business will pick up. Just like every other business around here, winter is tough. Carolina Forest is a great place to open a new business. I think this area offers the most potential growth opportunity to anywhere else in the Grand Strand."
Call 236-3893 for more menu information or stop in and see them.