Serving up football-sized calzones, Varlamos Pizzeria doesn’t just give you great food—it gives you a lot of great food. The restaurant offers a wide selection of pizza, pasta, salads and hot sandwiches, but it is their trademark calzones that have made the restaurant a favorite of UW students.
Varlamos’ menu didn’t have the best-selling calzone on the menu when owner Kosta Varlamos first opened its doors back in 1994. It was on a later trip to New York with his wife in which he observed the popularity of the calzone and was inspired to try it in his own restaurant.
“I wanted to offer something different, so I thought ‘Why not try to put the calzone in the market?’” Varlamos said. “I tried it, and it’s been one of our biggest things.”
His description of their calzones as football-sized is no exaggeration, as they barely fit on the serving plates. All of Varlamos’ calzones are made with homemade, hand-thrown pizza dough and filled with house-made marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
The restaurant offers a number of specialty calzones, including the Meat Calzone packed with a hearty combination of pepperoni, Canadian bacon and salami, and the aptly-named Clucker Calzone, which is filled with marinated chicken, roasted red peppers and onions.
These Varlamos standards are only the starting point, as there is also a build-your-own option, where customers can select three toppings of their choice. Varlomos’ toppings include everything from meat, walnuts and eggplant to broccoli, ricotta cheese and zucchini, which, as you would imagine, can result in some unusual combinations.
Sophomore Bryan Naden eats at Varlamos regularly with his fraternity housemates.
“We come here a lot,” Naden said. “The calzone is like two meals.”
Naden said his favorite dish is a pineapple, chicken and olive calzone of his own creation.
Monday night is of the busiest at Varlamos Pizzeria, because the restaurant offers its enormous calzone at a discounted price of $6.95 (regular price is $8.95) on Mondays.
Every calzone comes with a dinner salad, delicious by itself, so this is truly one of the best bargains in the area.
“We don’t really advertise Calzone Mondays—we just put up a little sign on the door, and it’s really just grown by word-of-mouth,” Varlamos said.
Many UW students have made Varlamos a regular stop on Monday nights to take advantage of the deal.
Sophomore Blakeley Holland said she and her teammates from the women’s crew team eat at Varlamos every Monday.
“It’s good food, and you always see people you know,” Holland said. “It’s a great local restaurant and is a nice break from the Ave.”
With the great popularity of the calzones, Varlamos has expanded to offer a frozen version of the item in many Northwest grocery stores, including Fred Meyer and QFC. Varlamos estimated that his calzones are now offered in 600-700 grocery stores throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Consider arriving early or making your order to go on Calzone Mondays, because word-of-mouth has spread the popularity of the dish, and getting a seat can be tough.
Varlamos Pizzeria is located near University Village at 3617 Northeast 45th Street and is open for dinner seven nights a week and for lunch on weekdays.
Please read our Comment policy.