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Post Corner Celebrates 4 Decades of Pizzas

Take advantage of 1970s prices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Post Corner Pizza, and maybe you'll be one of the 40 winners who will get to buy a large pizza every week for 40 weeks—all in celebration of the business's 40th anniversary.

A fluffy, thicker crust than most pizzas in this area. And yet that crust has a harder surface. Then there's the checkerboard way of cutting up the slices.

For 40 years (actually closer to 41) has always had its own distinctive way of cooking up and serving pizza pies. That's one of the reasons loyal fans have mobbed the 130-seat restaurant at the corner of the Post Road and Mansfield Avenue on weekend nights for generations.

have also been stable staples of the establishment, founded in 1971 by John Sofronas, who operated it with his wife, Kathy, until they sold the business five years ago to its current owner, Peter Kousidis.

"[Sofronas] was pretty particular as to who he was going to sell it to," Kousidis recalled. And yet he sold it to Kousidis, who had not only never run a restaurant before, but was the owner of a home remodeling company and had never been in the restaurant business.

Why?

"He thought I was the one to take care of his baby," Kousidis said. "I don't know what it was." Perhaps, he said, it was because Kousidis was very serious about preserving the restaurant and made a long-term commitment to it.

Preserved

Kousidis has kept the same staff in place (although there's always turnover among the 25 full- and part-time employees), the same menu and the same way of making pizza and other dishes. His few innovations so far have been to add a Greek or Italian dish here and there. 

He also learned how to do every job in the restaurant in order to understand how it all worked.

Post Corner's pizzas are made with the restaurant's own sauce, and the pizza starts in a pan, with a bit of olive oil between the crust and pan, before the pies are put in the oven, Kousidis said.

Plain cheese pizza is the most popular kind the restaurant sells, he said, with sausage and pepperoni in second place.

Post Corner's salads are also popular, he said, and the restaurant makes its own salad dressing, too.

Service is another important element in the restaurant's success, he said. Although the place may be crowded on a Friday or Saturday night, people seldom have to wait long for a seat because someone is always leaving one of the 130 seats. Also, many of the restaurant's dishes can be cooked and served quickly, he said.

How Post Corner grew

Since Post Corner was first started in Darien in 1971 (Kousidis said he hasn't been able to find out just when the business opened that year), two other Post Corner restaurant's have opened up—one in Westport, the other in Clearwater, FL. Both were founded by brothers of Sofronas.

The one in Florida is still in operation, but the restaurant in Westport closed about 15 years ago, Kousidis said. Kousidis didn't know it, but signs for "Post Corner Pizza" could be seen in "Blondie" comic strips years ago, when the strip was drawn by Stan Drake, a Westport resident.

In Darien, Post Corner's brushes with fame have included serving Bobby Valentine and Moby, both of whom gave the eatery signed pictures of themselves (look up to the right, just before the soda refrigerator, the next time you're waiting for a takeout pizza. David Letterman has also eaten at the restaurant, Kousidis said.

Past and future

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Post Corner Pizza will celebrate its four decades by giving its customers 1970s prices for some dishes: $6.50 for a large pizza, $3.75 for a large house salad and 35 cents for a can of soda.

In addition, 40 winning customers will get the right to buy a pizza at that 1970s price once a week for 40 weeks.

(Kousidis said he doesn't know exactly what the prices were back in the 1970s, but he's made an estimate based on an early 1980s menu he turned up.)

Now a Norwalk resident, Kousidis grew up in Ardassa, a small village in northern Greece, where his family grew wheat and tobacco on a farm which also had cows. That upbringing gave him an appreciation both for hard work and fresh food.

He immigrated to the United States 26 years ago, as of May 21, he said. Back then he knew no English, but he had a job offer from a friend, and he was working at 5 a.m. the next morning. After changing jobs a couple of times, he started his own house remodeling company, which he still operates in Norwalk.

Kousidis has ambitions of expanding the business some day by starting more Post Corner restaurants, nearby. He doesn't like the idea of franchising the business because he likes to maintain control. But if the other restaurants are close enough, he can manage them with an eye toward maintaining quality.

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