Settle in for a slice

Adapris Pizza Buffet Co-Owner Lorena Rodriguez (who took off her mask only for the photo) poses with the pizza bought by Tribune reporter Christy Perry. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

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GOOD HOPE, Ala. – Marco Perez had worked many years for corporate pizza chains when he finally decided he had the knowledge and positive attitude needed to run his own pizzeria. In 2016, he opened Adapris Pizza Buffet in Good Hope with his wife, Lorena Rodriguez. Despite recent challenges due to COVID-19, they made the necessary adjustments, and business is good.

“I started working in a pizza place in 1998. I was store manager for many places in Birmingham in Cullman and other places in Alabama,” he said. “I started to open my own business in 2016.”

The couple has three children including twin girls who will be starting second grade this year.

Perez explained, “The name of the store came from the kids. We have twins, and one is Adamary and the other is Priscila. We decided to put the names together and got Adapris.”

Rodriguez also worked in the pizza business, and that’s how she and Marco met.

“We worked at Cici’s together,” she said. “I learned how to cook and do pretty much all the stuff around there. He showed me and so we decided that we know what to do and we opened our own. You have to work a little harder, but it’s good working for yourself.”

Perez said the couple decided to open Adapris in Good Hope because, after years of commuting to work from his home in Good Hope, he wanted to work close to home. Now, he and his family live less than a mile from the family business. His goal is to be able to relax in the next few years.

He said, “I (have worked for) 22 years, every day, 12-14 hours each day. I’m thinking when I turn 50, (in) seven more years. Yesterday was my birthday, so seven more years I’m thinking.”

Son Marco, Jr. is 14 years old, so the hope is perhaps he can take over the family pizza business so his mom and dad can take it easy.

COVID-19 presented some unique challenges to Adapri’s buffet-style restaurant. Now, plexiglass separates the customers from the pizza and salads, and the staff is required to serve each customer.

“Only my employees can touch,” Perez explained. “It’s not too bad, and it’s still good. COVID-19 did not kill my business. If COVID-19 did not kill our business, we’re good. Many businesses are still closed.”

Also helping Adapris during the pandemic were its carryout and delivery options. Adapris delivers within a 10-mile radius of the store, which includes Cullman, Good Hope, Hanceville and Vinemont. For those looking to dine-in, make sure to bring the kids. There are several fun games for them to enjoy. Adapris also hosts birthday parties.

Perez said he and his family enjoy working and living in Good Hope.

“We have lived in Good Hope for 24 years. Our kids go to Good Hope Schools, and I think they are number one in this area. There are very good teachers there and my son and daughter really like it. They love the teachers and they are all very nice,” he smiled. “We like it here. I have had no problem with anybody here. People, they are really nice. Good people, so no complaints.”

When running a family business, even the kids can end up spending time with mom and dad at the restaurant. Perez is quite proud of his son and daughter for their positive attitudes and helpful natures. One day, he said, he hopes to take a real vacation but for now, he closes his restaurant early Sunday afternoons to make sure his family can have a little fun.

“We take the kids to Smith Lake or somewhere to go swim and just play with them,” he said. “The kids, they love it!”

Perez’s motto for success and life is simple: “Live positive.”

He said, “Two people working positively, we hit the goal. Everybody has problems, but you have to make your way great. We are positive, always positive.”

Adapris is located at 1587 County Road 437, Good Hope, AL 35055. It is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. It will be closed Saturday for the 4th of July holiday.

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