NEW BRITAIN - Max Pizza II, 79 Shuttle Meadow Ave., is one of five - soon to be six - pizza shops in central Connecticut owned by Stelios Koutouvides.
“We have a pretty good following, and our name is expanding,” said Koutouvides, a South African native who originally wanted to get into engineering and opened his first shop in 1976.
He was laid off from his former employer due to a department closure so when a place became vacant in Bristol, his mother suggested he start a pizza shop with his wife. His wife had worked at Pizza Corner on Broad Street.
Thinking he would open it and hand it off to his wife, he ended up sticking with the pizzeria, which has been successful.
The pizza shop’s main seller is, of course, pizza, which can be bought by the pie or slice. But grinders, salads, meals and appetizers and house salad dressings are also available, as is catering for parties.
In New Britain, fish and chips and a catfish platter are offered as well. An ice cream bar, beer and locally produced Avery sodas are also sold at the New Britain location, which accommodates about 50 people.
Because Koutouvides has different locations, he’s able to offer a unique twist for each one, depending on the area. Newington, Plantsville, Bristol and Burlington are the other locations, with a second in Bristol under construction. Expected completion is early May.
Family and partners help run all the locations.
Koutouvides said he hires employees who enjoy making their product and work well as a team so they can sell it with authority. “The menu is our bible,” said Koutouvides, so employees take it seriously.
That, along with the thicker pan pizza crust with plentiful ingredients, the best cheeses and pasta, is what makes Max Pizza different from other places.
To stay modern, Koutouvides said, his New Britain and Newington locations are now accessible through pizza delivery apps, such as Slice, Eat24 and Grubhub. He said a website is being worked on to bring all ordering options into play.
“I’d really to thank our customers because without them I wouldn’t have realized we have a great product,” said Koutouvides. “They are the ones who told us. That confirmed it.”
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.