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Milton’s | Raleigh, N.C.

Milton’s | Raleigh, N.C.

The Best Staff on the Planet

Jeff Janik and his wife Lindy are the proud owners of Milton’s Pizza and Pasta, with two locations in Raleigh, North Carolina. “I started working for the original Milton, Mr. Milton Papadopolous, in my hometown of Chesapeake, Virginia, in 1976 when I was 15 years old. I was initially hired to wash dishes by hand, and from the very beginning, I loved everything about the restaurant business. I was only making $2.10 an hour, but I was hooked right away.”

Janik moved to Raleigh to help Milton’s son, Greg Papadopolous, open a new restaurant in the Six Forks area of the city. The Janiks purchased this restaurant, named Milton’s Six Forks, in 1983, and opened a second location in the Wakefield neighborhood in 2003. They claim to have the “best staff on the planet,” which numbers 115 altogether. Each operation seats 250.

Customer satisfaction is the main focus at Milton’s. “The real secret to our success and longevity is the passion we have for this business and the dedication of our people to our ‘guest first’ mentality. We all realize that our compensation ultimately comes from our guests.” This isn’t just lip service; it truly is the culture here. A visit to the Milton’s website attests to the fact that no stone is left unturned to ensure customer satisfaction. There is a page where guests are invited to provide feedback on their experience. The Preferred Customer Email Club offers incentive to sign up for membership with a coupon for BOGO (buy one/get one) entrees and another sent automatically on members’ birthdays. The club boasts 30,000 members.

Lasagna is the signature dish among a comprehensive offering of pasta favorites. It’s made with beef, marinara sauce and three cheeses (Ricotta, Mozzarella and White Cheddar). The vegetarian version substitutes spinach for the beef. “Our kitchen is very flexible, and pasta lends itself well to patron customization,” Janik said. “Here in Raleigh, we’ve absolutely seen an increase in vegetarian preferences. In the past few years, we’ve worked hard to include items on our menu that are fresher and healthier. We also offer many gluten-free options.”

“Showcase” pizzas run the gamut from the meat-centric Milton’s Special (pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham, salami, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, onions, extra Mozzarella and optional anchovies and jalapenos) to the vegetarian Athenian (spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, black olives, garlic and Feta cheese) and the classic Margherita (fresh tomato slices, olive oil, garlic, fresh basil and Mozzarella). Guests can opt to “Build Your Pizza” from a long list of veggies, meats and cheeses that includes nuances such as fried eggplant, artichokes and Yellow Cheddar. Mini “My Pies” allow guests to create their own individual pizzas.

A 40-item salad bar and lunch buffet are big draws. The catering division and banquet facilities add to the operation’s bottom line. Milton’s is a perennial favorite in the Raleigh “Best of” awards, and has made frequent appearances on Pizza Today magazine’s “Top 100” list.

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