Sam and Greg’s serves up sweet and savory favorites
PHOTOS BY JOSHUA BERRY
Opened in 2014, Sam and Greg’s Pizzeria and Gelateria in Madison was designed and decorated by owners Samantha “Sam” and Greg Hathorn.
Greg masterfully designed the building from the ground up as a two-story brick building, with the second-floor seating area opening up on one side as an interior loft and an outdoor balcony. Not only is the layout unique, but everything in the building was carefully chosen or crafted from local second-hand stores – from the large chalkboard menus, which are recycled headboards from the old Hilton Hotel in Huntsville, to the themed resin tables throughout the restaurant.
“We want to be a fun atmosphere. We want people to say, ‘My kids will love it here,’” Sam said. The restaurant boasts bright, multi-colored chandeliers hanging from the high ceilings, and sunlight shines in through multiple stained-glass windows. Golden yellow walls with purple shutters provide further fun to the décor – and help make it obvious New Orleans and Mardi Gras are inspirations for the owners.
Greg is from New Orleans, and Sam is from “everywhere,” growing up as an army brat. They both worked in library automation until the early 2000s. “Our dream was to open a gelateria on the beach when we retire,” said Sam. However, their plans changed when their company was sold. Sam and Greg found and leased the first Huntsville location in 2007 and went to the Frozen Dessert University to learn how to make their creamy, refreshing gelato and sorbets.
Soon after opening the gelateria, Sam and Greg decided a gelateria and coffee shop would not sustain them in the early days of downtown Huntsville. They needed a product anyone could get any time between lunch and dinner. So, pizza was added to the menu.
The Hathorns said they knew immediately from whom they wanted to learn how to make pizza. “We used to go to a place called Mexico Beach, Florida – Beach Pizza – and we loved their pizza so much,” Sam said. “So, when we finally decided we were going to do pizza, Greg and his son went down to learn how to make pizza from Beach Pizza.”
They started out with Beach Pizza recipes and then improved upon them. As an homage to their favorite restaurant, Sam and Greg added Beach Pizza’s Guido Pizza as one of their very first menu items.
Each pizza is made to order with fresh, natural ingredients. The gelato and sorbets, as well, are made from scratch with real ingredients and do not contain high fructose corn syrup.
The menu is full of creative pizza and sandwich combinations from which to choose, such as the Southwestern, the Cajun pizza and the Werner von Brat. The Hathorns are even conscientious of food allergies and dietary preferences, with gluten-free crusts from Mason Dixon and vegan “Pizza Salads” available on the menu. Cocktails and mocktails are a brand-new addition, joining 24 taps with local and regional beer.
Sam and Greg said they are excited about the future of their pizzeria and gelateria. “When the fitness center opens, we’re going to have more gelato options with more protein,” said Sam, referencing the fitness center under construction behind their building. Because of their family-friendly atmosphere and close vicinity to the new stadium, the Hathorns said they also look forward to serving patrons of the Rocket City Trash Panda baseball games.
Sam and Greg’s Pizzeria and Gelateria is located on Hughes Road in from of Publix. Find the restaurant online at www.samandgregs.com and on Facebook.