Giovanni’s Pizzeria, which closed last Thursday to the dismay of many Isla Vista residents, will be reopening tomorrow under new management by Gio’s franchise owners Danny and Debra Babai.
According to the Babais, Gio’s closed temporarily to allow the new owners to transfer business and alcohol permits back to the location from previous owner Matt Metzka. The Babais have been doing restoration work inside the restaurant and will be opening the restaurant tomorrow at 11 p.m. as “Founders Family” Giovanni’s Pizza Isla Vista, with a grand opening from January 29 to 31.
Debra Babai said the staff will remain the same as it was before the temporary closing, but the new managers will be Indres Govender and Carrie Leonard. Danny Babai said the ownership change was due to confidential reasons.
“We took it back from the franchisee — it was confidential but we had to get it back,” Danny Babai said. “We hired back all the people who used to work here.”
Founder’s Family Giovanni’s Pizza has operated in the Santa Barbara area since 1979. According to a statement from the Babais, Danny Babai opened the first Founder’s Family Giovanni’s Pizza on State Street in 1979 and continues overseeing the business. Garrett Gruendyke, one of Danny’s sons, has owned and run an additional location, Giovanni’s Pizza on the Mesa, since 2009.