Stella Giannaris is a full blooded Greek-American.  She was born in New Britain, Connecticut to Greek immigrants, and moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, at the age of one.  Then when she was seven years old, Stella moved to Greece, as her parents wished to return to their homeland to live and raise their daughter.  It was in Greece where Stella then grew up, went to school, got married, and raised her three children.

Around seven years ago, in the midst of the Greek economic collapse, Stella and her husband made the decision to move to the United States to give their children greater economic opportunities and financial stability. Of course, this was not an easy choice.  Stella’s teenage children had always lived in Greece, and that’s where their friends were.  They also spoke little English at that time.  To make things even more complicated, Stella’s husband was not a U.S. citizen, so they would need to work through the process of acquiring a visa.  Nonetheless, in spite of these challenges, Stella and her family decided to make the move!

They moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where Stella had lived from the ages of one to seven, and where her parents once again made their home.  Stella’s husband did not receive permanent residence immediately and so he could not live full time in the United States.  In fact, it took five years for the process to be completed.  This meant that Stella had to decide how she wanted to make a living as she and her children settled into their new life in Pittsfield.  When she heard that a restaurant was for sale in Williamstown, a few towns over from Pittsfield, she was immediately interested.  Growing up in both the United States and Greece, her parents had always owned restaurants.  In fact, they currently own a restaurant in North Adams, Massachusetts. (Mary Giannaris was also interviewed for this project!). Back in Greece, Stella had run a daycare center, and although running a restaurant would be quite a leap, she decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps!  She bought the restaurant and reopened it as Olympic Pizza. More than six years later, business is booming at Olympic Pizza and Stella works hard every day as head chef, cooking up Mediterranean meals and living the American Dream!