From dish washer to owner, local immigrant brings pizza spot to Reston

A new pizza restaurant is opening in Lake Anne plaza by early December.

And it’s owned by Yasser Baslios, an Egyptian immigrant who first began as a dish washer at the restaurant shortly after he came to the United States with little to nothing in 1998.

Baslios, who comes from a family of businessmen, plans to open Deli Italiano at 1631 Washington Plaza. The restaurant has other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, Great Falls, Arlington and Burke.

He believes that business is about giving back — not just making money. He also benefited from this ethos when he started working as a dishwasher at the Deli Italiano location in Great Falls as a dishwasher.

With no language, savings, or support, Baslios said he was keen to learn everything. Staff would help him learn English by assigning him ten words daily to help learn the language. He says the previous owner, who retired in 2002, offered him leadership opportunities after seeing his desire to learn and grow.

Arriving in hopes of better financial means, Baslios did not immigrate to the United States to become a dishwasher. He left his work as a teacher and businessman in Egypt in search of better opportunities.

The Reston location will be much smaller than other locations, but Baslios hopes that won’t have any bearing on community partnerships and business.

“We’re really excited to be part of the community. We don’t just say that. We mean that,” Baslios said.

The business donates meals on Christmas and Thanksgiving and also organized a pie drive, Baslios said.

He hopes to continue to use his business to touch lives, just as it bolstered his.

The Coptic Christian, who often refers to his faith and ideals, saved up enough to support his family after he moved up the ranks at Deli Italiano. His humble start as a dishwasher in 1999 — one year after he immigrated to the United States — continues to inform his business practices.

“To me, this is not a job. It’s about touching people’s lives. It’s a mission.”

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