In our column entitled “Thrive in Debrecen”, we speak to people who live and work among us, many of us may know them personally or at least have heard of them. They tell us about themselves, their lives, and how to make a living and prevail in the city of Cívis. This time László Rostás “Toszy” once again told us about how much his life has changed since our last meeting. He opened his first pizzeria, making his dream come true.
Your first interview was published in May, and as far as I know, more people got to know you through it. Tell me about it.
Many people congratulated me on the publication of the article, I received many messages and some people even came to see me personally. People from Slovakia and Romania also contacted me and took selfies with me just because they had heard and read about me. I became a role model for others by giving insight into my life. What I longed for, to be a recognized person, I think has been achieved. There were also those who wanted to support me financially. One such helpful person offered me ten million forints to open my own restaurant. I refused because I don’t like to accept help, as I said before. And what is very important to me is that through the publication of this article I have found a friend who means a lot to me. He was the one who helped the above interview to be published.
A few months have passed since then, and you opened your first pizzeria on September 12. How did you make your dream come true?
I could have opened my own restaurant sooner, but the publishing of the interview helped people to get to know me and have confidence in me. Even before, I didn’t expect someone to associate with me just because of my personality, but because of my ideas and plans. I also have a hard time believing in people, but there was someone whom I trusted with maximum confidence, and with his help, we opened the restaurant together. It was originally a pub, which we converted into a bar, and we also built a pizzeria next to it. This is how Toszy Pizza&Bar in Tócóskert came to be.
As far as I know, you built everything in the store with your own hands, without involving professionals.
I finished it in a month, next to my previous workplace, all the screws were put in everywhere by my own hands, and I created the design myself. It may not be a luxurious look, but I am very proud of it. I painted, drilled, and carved every single night to make everything the best it could be.
What kind of pizzas do you prepare for your guests?
I want it to be a surprise. The reason I don’t tell anyone is that they know me as the guy with kebabs, and they don’t know what I can do now as a pizza maker. If I announce that we will have salami pizza, for example, they can get it anywhere, but if they come to our place, I know they will be curious about what I am capable of now. This is also on our menu, so they leave it to me to put it together.
There are many pizzerias in the city that have been operating for years. How will yours be different from the others?
Those who know me know what I’m like. I have never had a service where they asked for something and then left unhappy. Many people really approached me because of my personality, and many people confirmed this in me. I will bring the standard to Debrecen that has not been known until now. I want a pizzeria where people like to go, come back, and become regulars, and I try to offer food that they will really like.
Will there be home delivery?
Yes, I am trying to start this line as soon as possible and I am looking for reliable couriers. For now, I’m planning my own home delivery, but if everything goes well, there will also be company suppliers. I asked one of my friends, Alex Rácz, who still works as a food carrier, to work with me as soon as possible.
You open the place now when you have to deal with higher overhead costs. Didn’t that hold you back?
My dream was to have a kebab restaurant, but I didn’t do it because I know that gas prices will be higher, and the pizzeria has enough electricity. That way I don’t have to pay twice. I think if I can survive these high costs, I can survive anything. I get a lot of people telling me that I’m not normal, that I’m opening a new place when others are closing. But it also inspires me to keep doing it.
Did you just stop here, or do you still have plans you want to achieve?
A pizzeria is not enough. I would like to open a gyros place and also a bistro, but I still have a lot to learn. Now it has become “just” a pizzeria.
What would you say to those who want to stand on their own feet, but for some reason don’t dare to do it?
While I was employed, like most people, I thought how easy it was to open a restaurant. But now I empathize with the owners who said it was not an easy task. The road is hard until we get there to make our goal come true. I succeeded, but it takes a lot of work, help, and perseverance. No one can envy me that I worked until dawn every day to make my dream come true. But I did it and I’m proud of it. Those who didn’t believe in me can now see that I haven’t stopped and that I will continue until more and more people in Debrecen know my name.
debreceninap.hu / Judyt Rontó