Kosta and Judy Varlamos opened the pizzeria that bears their name in 1994. It’s on Northeast 45th Street, just a few blocks from the Seattle Ronald McDonald House and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Over the years, they met families who stopped by for pizza and calzones between rounds of chemotherapy or other courses of treatment. In talking to them and hearing their stories, Kosta and Judy learned about RMHC and the lives of the families who were staying at the Seattle House.
Over a decade ago, they decided to find a way to give back, so they started to donate pizza nights to the House every month. For the first few months, they got a volunteer group together to serve the pizza; these days, they just deliver it and let families take it when they want.
“We don’t usually offer delivery,” says Judy, laughing, “but we make an exception for the Ronald McDonald House.” Over the years that they’ve been doing dinners at the Seattle Ronald McDonald House, Varlamos has donated over 1,200 pizzas. Varlamos also offers discounts to the groups who hold Friday Pizza Nights at the House, as well as to families who come into the pizzeria.
Helping those undergoing treatment is a personal matter for Kosta, whose father has battled cancer. And the couple say that as longtime neighbors of the House, it’s important to them to find a way to give back.
“We have kids of our own, and we empathize with those parents, even if we can’t imagine what they’re going through,” says Judy. “So we wanted to help out in any way that we could.”
Want to learn more about hosting your own pizza night at the Seattle House? Click here for more information on how to volunteer!