When Mark Adi bought Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen in May, he knew he had a good product to continue selling.

Adi, who has been in restaurant ownership for three decades, kept the same menu, chef and cooks in the longtime Angleton eatery.

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” Adi said.

He added some modern upgrades, like a $5,000 point-of-sale system instead of everything being written by hand, new kitchen equipment, cleaning schedules and storage, he said.

Plus, Giovanni’s now offers a Sunday buffet.

“People were looking for a place like this after church,” Adi said. “It’s samples of our menu, and we change one or two items every week to keep it fresh.”

The Sunday buffet began about a month ago. It costs $20 per person and the restaurant also offers half-priced mimosas and bloody marys during buffet hours, Adi said.

The buffet menu includes spinach and beef manicotti, chicken Parmigiana, chicken Alfredo, pizza, banana bread pudding and more. These are the same recipes the previous owners — Sue and Vinny Grippo — used for about 18 years while they owned the restaurant, he said. The food didn’t need to be touched, Adi said.

The Grippos opened the restaurant in 2001, according to The Facts archives. Vinny Grippo first tried to open in West Columbia but went to Angleton after West Columbia’s City Council voted against letting him serve beer in the restaurant, the archives show. West Columbia’s voters decided to ease the city’s liquor laws in 2006.

Adi doesn’t know why the couple chose to sell the restaurant in May, he said, but he saw an opportunity when it came on the market.

He had eaten there a few times, really liked the restaurant and the city, and he saw potential in the Italian kitchen, he said.

He still owns Peppers Beef & Seafood restaurant in Pasadena, as he has for 24 years. Now that he is older, he’ll stick to owning only two restaurants, he said.

He’s still getting to know the area, but has gotten great feedback about the Sunday buffet, Adi said.

Adi hopes to get Giovanni’s more involved in the community by joining the Greater Angleton Chamber of Commerce, he said. As he does at all of his restaurants, he will offer Angleton’s police, firefighters and city employees 25 percent off, the same given to his own staff, Adi said.

The buffet is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Call 979-849-3332 to make a reservation.

The restaurant continues to serve dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


For a more southern location and more Cajun food, Drew Ryder’s Swamp Shack continues to offer a Sunday buffet as RiverPoint did before the rebranding.

Ryder said he found that while there are many new restaurants in the area, there wasn’t one with Cajun-styled offerings and that didn’t sit right with him.

Swamp Shack’s menu is completely different from On the River, with a deeper focus on Louisiana cooking, Ryder said.

The restaurant is at 111 Abner Jackson Parkway in Lake Jackson.

The Sunday buffet is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and costs $20 for adults or $18 for seniors.

The menu includes fried, grilled and boiled shrimp, shrimp ettouffe, stuffed crab, frog legs, fried grouper, grilled and fried catfish, Cajun macaroni and cheese, fried okra, gumbo and more. The food is great, Ryder said.

“Who doesn’t like all-you-can-eat shrimp?” he said.

Ryder said Sunday is a great time to do buffets because people tend to go out to eat after church before moving on to the next part of their day.

The restaurant began its buffets on major holidays like Easter and Mother’s Day to take some pressure off the kitchen, he said. It’s easier to prepare in bulk than individual plates, he said.

It worked out well and has become a regular thing, Ryder said. In the future, Swamp Shack will offer bloody mary and mimosa bars along with the Sunday buffet, he said.

For information, call Swamp Shack at 979-299-7444.

Maddy McCarty is senior reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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