Our Story


In the summer of 1976, Hank Zwirek and his buddy, Ed, both native Chicagoans, grew tired of living in the windy city and relocated to Houston. They realized the burgeoning city lacked high quality pizza and delivery service (a norm in Chicago). Acting on their instincts, the two purchased a quaint two-story house on Norfolk and in October of 1976, a Star (pizza) was born.

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The first couple of years were grueling. Hank and Ed lived on the second floor while operating the restaurant on the ground level. Opening the kitchen at 3 AM for hungry patrons was nothing out of the ordinary. Just as the restaurants hours were dictated by the customer’s demands, so was the high quality of ingredients used and attention to taste and detail, a theme that continues today. To Hank and Ed anything less than perfection was not an option.

Star Pizza separated itself from other restaurants by offering unique and original menu items including deep-dish pie, vegetarian toppings, and whole wheat crust. Houstonians, who were fans of steak and potatoes, were not familiar with vegetarian foods or pizza that required a fork and knife. Word of mouth began to spread about the delicious pizza that was cookin’ and business was booming! To accommodate the demand, Hank and Ed turned their living quarters on the second floor into a dining room.

In 1984 Hank became the sole owner and married Marilyn, a waitress at Star. Shortly after they had their first son Benjamin. They would go on to have two more children, Seth and Chelsea. While living in the Heights, business continued to thrive and the couple was eager to expand. In the summer of 1988 a second Star was born, affectionately named Star 2. The offspring of the original was located at 140 S. Heights Blvd. in the building that’s now home to Chatter’s.

Hank and Marilyn’s keen sense of real estate in 1999 led them to make a wise real-estate investment. The investment: Rockefeller’s, the former Satellite Lounge, and Leo’s Mexican restaurant. Four years later, Star 2 moved from S. Heights to 77 Harvard, where it remains today. The original Star is still located in the house on Norfolk, and continues to offer the same homely atmosphere as it did in 1976. To this day the Zwirek family owns and operates both Star Pizzas and thanks their loyal Star Pizzanites for their support throughout the years.