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Valian's Pizza...Mmmmm, Good!


24zulu

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I drove by the old Shamrock location today, and was hungry, so I was thinking of a place to eat. As I cruised South main, my mouth began to water ( Just in memory ) for a pizza from Vallian's!! Man, they had the best pizza you ever ate! I believe they were at South Main & Holcomb, on the East side of the underpass. I'll never forget what a special treat it was to be able to go there. Anyone got any memories to share? I was always curious of what happened to the restaurant, and the Vallian family. Yuuuuum, Yum!

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Seems like they were the "original" pizza place in Houston, long before Shakeys, Pizza inn, Pizza Hut, etc. Do you remember/know when they started up? Must have been sometime in the '50s.

I did read someone's article, possibly Leon Hale, where it was stated that Vallian's was the original pizza restaurant in Houston. I remember going there in the 50's, but I'm not sure when they actually opened, or when they closed. My dad knew the Vallian's somehow, but not sure what the connection was. The atmosphere, and pizza was just super. The only other place I know that had pizza as good, was a little place on Shepherd Drive called, "A New York Pizza ". My dad knew these folks very well too. I believe their name was DeShazo, and yes, they were from New York. So if Vallian's was the first, it sure wasn't long before the other place popped up.

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I couldn't find any TABC records (did they even served alcohol?) but the SOS/Texas Comptroller's records show that Valian's, Inc. was established July 15, 1955:

Entity Information:

VALIANS INC

PO BOX 6831

HOUSTON, TX 77265-6831

Status:

NO STANDING, FRANCHISE RESPONSIBILITY ENDED

Registered Agent:

GEORGE VALIAN

6935 SOUTH MAIN STREET

HOUSTON, TX

State of Formation:

TX

File Number:

0012706800

SOS Registration Date:

July 15, 1955

Taxpayer Number:

17412396297

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I couldn't find any TABC records (did they even served alcohol?) but the SOS/Texas Comptroller's records show that Valian's, Inc. was established July 15, 1955:

Entity Information:

VALIANS INC

PO BOX 6831

HOUSTON, TX 77265-6831

Status:

NO STANDING, FRANCHISE RESPONSIBILITY ENDED

Registered Agent:

GEORGE VALIAN

6935 SOUTH MAIN STREET

HOUSTON, TX

State of Formation:

TX

File Number:

0012706800

SOS Registration Date:

July 15, 1955

Taxpayer Number:

17412396297

Hey, Thanks for the research Sevfiv. I stand corrected on the spelling, only one,"L" in the name. We must have started going there right when they opened. We didn't get to go out to eat much, but in the '50's & early 60's I don't recall any restaurants ( Outside of those that were at hotels ) that we ate at that did serve alcohol - very strict back then. Blue laws, no alcohol in grocery stores or pharmacies, and no alcohol sales on Sunday at all, not even beer. I remember eating at the Shamrock, and in that restaurant, they served cocktails, etc. Funny how things change. I remember the fire - storm when they began talking about dropping the Blue Law! Did you find anything on the, "A New York Pizza" place? As I remember, it was on Shepherd Drive @ 20th - 26th streets.

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Vallian’s was a great “date place” in the mid 60’s, but it wasn’t my favorite place for pizza. That honor went to DePaul’s in the 1600 block of North Shepherd. It was pretty much a family joint, and I always saw people I knew there.

Vince DePaul was onboard the (I think) Battleship Tennessee when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was a brutish looking Italian, but who was very soft-spoken, as nice a fella as you could ever meet. His wife (can’t remember her name) was dynamite in a small package; a real spark plug. The son was a year or two behind me at Reagan.

They sold the business and their recipe to the new owners, but it was never as good as when the DePaul’s had it. Their sauce was so good you could drink it. The crust was thin, and the cheese was thick. I have never had as good a pizza since. They also had great lasagna, which they also sold in freezable packages.

From my earliest remembrances, Christie’s on South Main had a sign on the Main Street side of the building claiming, “We Serve Pizza Pie”. I don’t know if Vallian’s preceded them or not.

Edited by Heights2Bastrop
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Vallian’s was a great “date place” in the mid 60’s, but it wasn’t my favorite place for pizza. That honor went to DePaul’s in the 1600 block of North Shepherd. It was pretty much a family joint, and I always saw people I knew there.

Vince DePaul was onboard the (I think) Battleship Tennessee when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was a brutish looking Italian, but who was very soft-spoken, as nice a fella as you could ever meet. His wife (can’t remember her name) was dynamite in a small package; a real spark plug. The son was a year or two behind me at Reagan.

They sold the business and their recipe to the new owners, but it was never as good as when the DePaul’s had it. Their sauce was so good you could drink it. The crust was thin, and the cheese was thick. I have never had as good a pizza since. They also had great lasagna, which they also sold in freezable packages.

From my earliest remembrances, Christie’s on South Main had a sign on the Main Street side of the building claiming, “We Serve Pizza Pie”. I don’t know if Vallian’s preceded them or not.

H2B, Thanks for jogging my memory. We're talking about the same place on Shepherd! I Remember the sign now, it read, "DePaul's" on top, and right below that, it had the words, "A New York Pizza". They were from New York. I couldn't remember their name, and had it confused with the DeShazo's - pretty close, but no cigar. My dad worked on their T.V. & he used to barter the T.V. repair out for pizza. You're right about his wife, man she could waite a table faster than a speeding bullet. It wasn't much of a place, and very small, but really homey. Their son was about my age, maybe a year or two younger ( Guess we're about the same age ), and he used to help out in there too. They were fine folks, and very nice to everyone. You're right about the pizza, and lasagna. Thanks for the memories!

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Well, 24-Z, I might be able to help you. I went there frequently in its later years. It closed down around 1984. I went there several times in late high school and college. They had several rooms, one of which had a black or dark blue velvet sky with tiny white light bulb stars. In the entrance there was a sort of Italian night-time courtyard scene sort of like something out of the spaghetti scene in _Lady and the Tramp_. I remember it having a motto inside the entry that said "Pepe Roni: our pizza chef!"

Yes, it was on the east side of South Main and Holcombe, near the former Holiday Inn and across from the Shamrock Hilton. If you search this Historic Houston forum, you might be able to find some pictures. I don't remember the pizza being all that great, honestly. Kind of a thin, crispy thing which tasted a little like frozen pizza. I think we are remembering it so fondly because there weren't all that many pizza places back then, and the atmosphere was very interesting, especially to a small-town kid like me.

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Well, 24-Z, I might be able to help you. I went there frequently in its later years. It closed down around 1984. I went there several times in late high school and college. They had several rooms, one of which had a black or dark blue velvet sky with tiny white light bulb stars. In the entrance there was a sort of Italian night-time courtyard scene sort of like something out of the spaghetti scene in _Lady and the Tramp_. I remember it having a motto inside the entry that said "Pepe Roni: our pizza chef!"

Yes, it was on the east side of South Main and Holcombe, near the former Holiday Inn and across from the Shamrock Hilton. If you search this Historic Houston forum, you might be able to find some pictures. I don't remember the pizza being all that great, honestly. Kind of a thin, crispy thing which tasted a little like frozen pizza. I think we are remembering it so fondly because there weren't all that many pizza places back then, and the atmosphere was very interesting, especially to a small-town kid like me.

Hey Marmer,

Thanks for the memories. You must be a glutten for bad pizza, or just liked the atmosphere ( Ha..Ha!!) Seriously, I think we all remember things too fondly sometimes. I recently ( Thanksgiving ) offered a fond remembrance of my Aunt Delores's mouth - watering peach cobbler from my childhood. Everyone at our huge dinner table quit eating, and just stared at me. My sister suggested I begin taking Co-Q10, as everyone, even my dog wouldn't eat that stuff. I suppose it proves Horace Greely's belief that the truth is much less palatable than the legend. I always enjoy your posts, Happy New Year! - and thanks!

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I’m not sure if Vallian’s had different sized pizzas or not, but I do remember you could order half a pizza. I always wondered how long they kept the other half around before someone else ordered half a pizza with the same ingredients.

I went there once with a date and she got a half pizza. It was memorable because she found a hair in the cheese. I didn’t see what the big deal was, but she freaked out over it. Women! What a bunch of sissies.

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In the late '50's, Valian's was the place to go after a UH home football game. Pizza was somewhat of a novelty in Houston at the time. The good ol' country boy I was dating back then used to order our pizza with "everything" on it. He hated anchovies, though, and would always pick them off and put them on my plate.

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In the late '50's, Valian's was the place to go after a UH home football game. Pizza was somewhat of a novelty in Houston at the time. The good ol' country boy I was dating back then used to order our pizza with "everything" on it. He hated anchovies, though, and would always pick them off and put them on my plate.

Hey Sub, Could you post the postcard? I do remember the frontier room, and seemed to me that the cedar room had deer heads on the wall???

Anyone know what happened to the Valian family? I was wondering if they owned it throughout it's history, or sold it sometime in between.

Silver, I hope you don't like anchovies....

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From my earliest remembrances, Christie’s on South Main had a sign on the Main Street side of the building claiming, “We Serve Pizza Pie”. I don’t know if Vallian’s preceded them or not.

Christie's came way before Valian's, at least it seemed that way to me. When I was a kid in the mid-40's, my folks would take me to Christie's after church on Sunday. I always got a dozen jumbo fried shrimp for $.75. Valian's came into being sometime in the early to mid-50's, I believe. I used to go there often while at Rice in that time-frame. I remember eating my first pizza there. It came with the aforementioned anchovies, and this was my first endeavor with that delicacy. Needless to say, I was not impressed with this new dish, known as pizza. In my later years, I have come to like them on my pizza, as well as taking a like to many other foods I did not care for in my youth.

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Christie's came way before Valian's, at least it seemed that way to me. When I was a kid in the mid-40's, my folks would take me to Christie's after church on Sunday. I always got a dozen jumbo fried shrimp for $.75. Valian's came into being sometime in the early to mid-50's, I believe. I used to go there often while at Rice in that time-frame. I remember eating my first pizza there. It came with the aforementioned anchovies, and this was my first endeavor with that delicacy. Needless to say, I was not impressed with this new dish, known as pizza. In my later years, I have come to like them on my pizza, as well as taking a like to many other foods I did not care for in my youth.

Hey 57, Seviv nailed Valian's opening date in post # 4 as 1955. Marmer remembered that Valian's pizza was not really very good, and you were not impressed with pizza in the early years at all. I'd be impressed if we could still get a dozen fried shrimp for $0.75!

Do you know if the Mitchell family from Galveston owned the Christie's you referenced? I know they owned the Christie's Beachcomber by Stewart Beach. What a shame, as I just drove by there today, and the old building is gone from the planet. I really loved the food, and atmosphere of that place. I took many 'a young girl there for dinner, and a walk on the beach afterward. Wow....

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Christie's certainly pre-dated Valian's, having started as a stand on the seawall in Galveston ca. 1917 or 18. They moved to Houston in the Med Ctr area ca. 1939. There used to be a history on the restaurant website but I don't know if it's still there. I understand there were several restaurants around bearing the name Christie's. There was one on Bellaire @ Rampart or Renwick for a long time that I understand was not owned by the same people who owned the one on Westheimer.

On the old houston.eats newsgroup about 6 or 7 years ago there was a long-running discussion about the history of Houston restaurants; a lot of that got copied here to HAIF in an earlier thread, maybe 3 or 4 years ago. I think the old timers were in agreement that Valian's was the first place to serve pizza in Houston and I've seen that elsewhere in print, probably in the Chron, but I can't vouch for that myself.

I first went to Valians in the late 50s when my older brother was showing me and a friend around the big city after he had moved here from our small town. He ordered a pizza with anchovies, which went mostly uneaten except for his portion. Years later when I moved to Houston, in the early 70s, there was a small Valian's on Shepherd, just north of Alabama, right about where Pappas Seafood is now. I went there for take-out a couple of times (not sure if there was a dining room) and I know I was not very impressed with the pizza then. In my memory it was sort of like one of those Impossible Pie creations using Bisquick that were so popular back then - very thick, biscuit like dough that soaked up the sauce and made for a very doughy pie, but that's just my memory of it after all these years and tons of other bad pizzas.

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I know I was not very impressed with the pizza then. In my memory it was sort of like one of those Impossible Pie creations using Bisquick that were so popular back then - very thick, biscuit like dough that soaked up the sauce and made for a very doughy pie, but that's just my memory of it after all these years and tons of other bad pizzas.

We have similar memories of Valian's Brucie. Their pizza really wasn't all that good, but we didn't know that then. That was when "pizza" was new in Houston. It was "different", and we thought it was so good because we had nothing to compare it to. Almost nobody else in town was serving pizza then.

I think all this nostalgia for Valian's has more to do with our memories of the fun we all had back in the innocent 50s and early 60s. Gathering up a carload or two of friends and going to Valian's for pizza on a Friday or Saturday night was just part of the fun.

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Despite being known for Italian food, I always remember the western motif in the frontier room. Light fixtures with cowboys and steerhorns etc. I also recall that in the 50's, we ordered pizza as an appetizer before the pasta came. Perhaps too radical for our family as the main course.

They had a small take-out place near the Alabama theater as well.

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Despite being known for Italian food, I always remember the western motif in the frontier room. Light fixtures with cowboys and steerhorns etc. I also recall that in the 50's, we ordered pizza as an appetizer before the pasta came. Perhaps too radical for our family as the main course.

They had a small take-out place near the Alabama theater as well.

I found the following article, and thought it was interesting. Especially if Christie's had offered pizza before Valian's, who we saw started in 1955. I guess Valian's did pretty well, even if their pizza wasn't very good :

Before the 1940s, pizza consumption was limited mostly to Italian immigrants and their descendants. The international breakthrough came after World War II. Allied troops occupying Italy, weary of their rations, were constantly on the lookout for good food. They discovered the pizzeria, and local bakers were hard-pressed to satisfy the demand from the soldiers. The American troops involved in the Italian campaign took their appreciation for the dish back home, touted by "veterans ranging from the lowliest private to Dwight D. Eisenhower".

According to an article in American Heritage Magazine, the modern pizza industry was born in the Midwestern United States. Ric Riccardo pioneered what became known as the Chicago-style deep dish pizza when, in 1943, he and Ike Sewell opened Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. Others might argue that the "modern pizza industry" began with the birth of Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas in 1958.

In 1948, the first commercial pizza-pie mix — ‘Roman Pizza Mix‘ — was produced in Worcester, Mass., by Frank A. Fiorillo.

The introduction of a

on Canadian television documents the dawn of pizza's North American success:

Good afternoon, I’m Mrs. Brady. Today, I’m going to make a popular Italian dish, pizza pie. You’ve all probably heard about it; and if you’d like the recipe, please get a pencil and paper and then you can take it down as I go.Pizza pie is becoming very popular, especially down in the States. There are some restaurants that even specialize in it. These are called pizzerias; and Saturday night, if you drive down, you can see cars lined up for miles, waiting for their pizza.Pizza pie is composed of three parts. First, there is a base, which is usually a biscuit or a yeast dough. This is covered with a tangy tomato sauce, sprinkled with oregano, and then topped with nippy cheese.With pizza's rising popularity, chain restaurants moved in. Leading early pizza chains were Shakey's Pizza, founded in 1954 in Sacramento, California, and Pizza Hut, founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas. Later entrant restaurant chains to the dine-in pizza market were Bertucci's, Happy Joe's, Monical's Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, Godfather's Pizza, and Round Table Pizza.

Today, the American pizza business is dominated by companies that specialize in pizza delivery, such as Domino's, Brooklyn Pizzeria, Papa John's Pizza, Giordano's Pizza, Pizza Ranch, Mazzio's, and Godfather's Pizza. Pizza Hut has shifted its emphasis away from pizza parlors and toward home delivery. Another recent development is the take-and-bake pizzeria, such as Papa Murphy's.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I drove by the old Shamrock location today, and was hungry, so I was thinking of a place to eat. As I cruised South main, my mouth began to water ( Just in memory ) for a pizza from Vallian's!! Man, they had the best pizza you ever ate! I believe they were at South Main & Holcomb, on the East side of the underpass. I'll never forget what a special treat it was to be able to go there. Anyone got any memories to share? I was always curious of what happened to the restaurant, and the Vallian family. Yuuuuum, Yum!

Valians was one of the places my family ate at as well.

Did you mean the old Shamrock hotel?

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Valians was one of the places my family ate at as well.

Did you mean the old Shamrock hotel?

Yes, I did. The Shamrock was one of my favorite hangouts. As you can see in some of the other posts Vallian's was pretty popular... if not for the pizza, the atmosphere. Did you like the pizza? Some herein have declared it pretty bad.

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  • 3 weeks later...

there was a small Valian's on Shepherd, just north of Alabama, right about where Pappas Seafood is now.

Pappas Seafood is exactly where that Valian's on Shepherd was located. They used part of the old Valian's building for that restaurant. When the builders of the Pappas Seafood restaurant were removing the facade of the other establishments that had been there after Valian's, they uncovered the old Valian's sign. I wish I had taken a photo.

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  • 8 months later...

An old high school friend of mine just sent this "Valian's is Back" blog to me. I thought some of you post-Valian's HAIF'ers might want to try it and compare with today's Domino's, Pizza Hut, etc. Maybe some of you in the area that did Valian's in the 50's-60's era can sample it and see if it's really like the original Valian's pizza... if you can remember that far back.

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  • 1 year later...

I drove by the old Shamrock location today, and was hungry, so I was thinking of a place to eat. As I cruised South main, my mouth began to water ( Just in memory ) for a pizza from Vallian's!! Man, they had the best pizza you ever ate! I believe they were at South Main & Holcomb, on the East side of the underpass. I'll never forget what a special treat it was to be able to go there. Anyone got any memories to share? I was always curious of what happened to the restaurant, and the Vallian family. Yuuuuum, Yum!

BEST PIZZA I EVER ATE!

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  • 4 years later...

Vallian’s was a great “date place” in the mid 60’s, but it wasn’t my favorite place for pizza. That honor went to DePaul’s in the 1600 block of North Shepherd. It was pretty much a family joint, and I always saw people I knew there.

Vince DePaul was onboard the (I think) Battleship Tennessee when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was a brutish looking Italian, but who was very soft-spoken, as nice a fella as you could ever meet. His wife (can’t remember her name) was dynamite in a small package; a real spark plug. The son was a year or two behind me at Reagan.

They sold the business and their recipe to the new owners, but it was never as good as when the DePaul’s had it. Their sauce was so good you could drink it. The crust was thin, and the cheese was thick. I have never had as good a pizza since. They also had great lasagna, which they also sold in freezable packages.

From my earliest remembrances, Christie’s on South Main had a sign on the Main Street side of the building claiming, “We Serve Pizza Pie”. I don’t know if Vallian’s preceded them or not.

 

Vince Charles DePaul was my great uncle.  He was my grandfather's brother.  His wife's name was Connie. They were my godparents.  They actually sold the restaurant, but not the recipe, after "Vince" (the family called him Charlie) had a heart attack.  The new owners just claimed to have the recipe. And the sale contract required that the new owners change the name of the restaurant after one year.  CHarlie and Connie moved out to the country, and It took a few years before our family discovered they were still using the name.  We got them to shut it down (that was in the 90s). 

 

Vince was a twin and was born in Palermo, Italy.  My grandfather was the oldest child.  The famiy first lived in Philadelpha.  Someone here said something about New York.  They never lived in New York.  I don't remember the sign saying New York, but I was a kid.  I only remember it saying "De Paul's Pizza House."    During the depression, Vince's twin brother died.  The family then moved to Bryan, Texas, where other family members lived, and they became farmers.   You may recall, that when you walked in the door there was a large oval-shaped bevelled glass framed photo on the wall of baby burried in white lace - that was me (christening photo).

 

And I have their sauce recipe :)

 

Edited by HTownJen
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