The 411 Food Fair

Customers (l-r) Michael Hale and Craig McFerrin, Saleh Mugalli, pizza staff Chris Rowe and Tyrone Thomas

Samia Pizza grows and opens new store on Fifth Avenue

Contributed By:The 411 News

Customers wanted more than gas and pizza

What does it take to grow a business? For husband and wife team Saleh and Samia Mugalli, owners of the newly opened Samia Pizza at Chase street and Fifth Avenue in Gary, the answer came in giving the customers what they wanted.

For 30 years, Samia made deli sandwiches at her Samia Sandwich stand inside the Taft Foods store at 9th and Taft.

For the last 18 of those years, Saleh handled the operations at Diamond Gas Mart, a convenience store and gas station at 15th and Chase, about a half-mile away.

“It started with Samia’s homemade pizzas. We brought one to the gas station and gave it to our customers. They loved it.” Saleh said his wife began doubling the number of pizzas each week. And Samia made her own dough. Saleh learned how to make pizza dough and sandwiches. Next, they hired a pizza cook. That was a year ago.

Tired of paying rent and working in cramped, small places not meant for preparing and selling restaurant food, Samia was ready to expand. Customers wanted more than pizza and gas. Their cook wanted to add more items.

Now, husband and wife work together. They converted a former laundromat on Chase street into a place of their own. Samia Pizza opened in July. There’s a full kitchen with storage and work space, pizza ovens, and refrigeration.

Alongside Samia’s 2-for-$10 pizzas, the menu includes deli sandwiches, chicken, fish, side dishes and desserts. A large floor space is dedicated to convenience store items.

“We’re going to open a new store at East Side Gas, 1101 E. 21st Avenue in a few months,” Saleh said. “Now, we’re a franchise.”

Saleh is from Yemen; Samia, from Algeria. “I’m going to put up flags for Algeria, Yemen and State of Indiana,” Saleh said.

Story Posted:08/17/2017

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