Sam Seji opened an Italian restaurant in Southlake in 1994, and he named it Armend’s Italian Restaurant after his oldest son, Armend Seji. Over the ensuing 28 years the business has undergone several changes, yet it has remained the same in many ways.

In February 2000, the family moved from their original Southlake spot to the location on East Southlake Boulevard. When Sam opened the doors at the new location, he changed the name to Armend’s Pizza and Pasta.

“My dad realized Southlake was becoming more of a family-friendly community, so when we moved here he made it more casual,” Armend said.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Armend, who worked at the restaurant since he was 14 years old, took over ownership of the family business.

“One day, ... my dad said, ‘Let’s go have coffee,’” Armend said. “We were talking, and he said, ‘In six months, I’m done; it’s yours. Keep it, sell it, close it—it’s yours.’ My name is on the building; it’s all I know. What was I going to do?”

Armend said all menu items are made from scratch, and the majority are Sam’s recipes. He said everyday they make their own tomato sauce using San Marzano tomatoes because “quality is key.”

They serve 14 types of pizzas as well as a build-your-own option. They also have pasta, veal, chicken and seafood dishes. Armend said he created the recipe for the Cajun salmon dish as well as a few others.

Armend said he treats his customers as he was raised to do. He mentioned an elderly customer who comes in on a regular basis with a group of retirees. This customer uses a walker, so whenever Armend sees him pull into the parking lot, he helps him inside. The customer’s daughter wrote of the kindness Armend and the staff shows her dad, on social media.

“That was real touching,” he said. “I’m not the type of person who cries, but that made me cry.”

Armend said he has known many of his customers since he was a boy.

“I’ve seen kids be born, get married and have kids,” he said. “I see multiple generations, and we try to make everyone feel like family here.”

Armend said he and his staff know most of their customers by name, and many enjoy the BYOB policy.

“It makes me happy when they say this is the best pizza, but when you tell me you love coming here, bringing your family here, ... nothing makes me happier than that,” he said. “I’m creating happiness for you.”