FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1976
In the summer of 1976, Henry “Hank” Zwirek a native Chicagoan, grew tired of living in the windy city and relocated to Houston. Hank realized the burgeoning city lacked high quality pizza and delivery service (a norm in Chicago). Acting on his instincts, he purchased a quaint two-story house on Norfolk and in October of 1976, a Star (pizza) was born.
The first couple of years were extremely grueling. Hank 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 at Star Pizza. To Hank 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. Soon, however, they developed a love for Star Pizza. Word of mouth began to spread about the delicious pizza that was cookin’ and business was booming! To accommodate the demand, Hank turned his living quarters on the second floor into a dining room.
In 1984 Hank married Marilyn, a waitress at Star, and shortly after 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 trends in the spring of 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 to 77 Harvard (Leo’s former location), 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 locations and thanks their loyal Star Pizzanites for their support throughout the years.