BRISTOL – City and Chamber officials joined Stelios Koutouvides, owner of Max Pizza, in celebrating the Grand Opening of Max Pizza 4 Wednesday, with this location being the largest of the six he has opened so far.
Max Pizza IV, located at 454 Middle St., is the first Max Pizza location to feature a full bar and a party room. But like all Max Pizzas, it features some familiar charm such as Koutouvides’ numerous paintings decorating the walls. The 7,000 square foot restaurant was renovated from the former Century Spring building and currently employs 40 people. Koutouvides said that he probably employs around 100 people between all of his locations and that he has plans to add a 3,000 square foot upper level to this one.
“We have been working on this location for about two years,” said Koutouvides. “This is our biggest Max Pizza and I’m very proud of how it looks. We opened our first location back in 1976 on 108 Stafford Ave. in Bristol.”
Koutouvides said that although he went to school to be an engineer, he worked part time at a pizza restaurant while also working at the former Superior Electric building that was once across the street from where Max Pizza IV now stands. His wife also worked at a pizza restaurant and so he decided to open his own. As for the name, that comes from a pet dog.
“I lived in Africa years ago and my favorite dog was called Max,” he said. “When I came here, I had another dog named Max. I wanted a simple name that would stick in people’s minds. If I used my name, I was worried they wouldn’t come. Instead of Stelios, people would say ‘let’s go to Max’s’.”
Koutouvides said that he never expected to be working for so long in the pizza industry, but that he loves it.
“I love the pizza and I love the people,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but you have to have the right character for it.”
Cindy Bombard, president and CEO of the Central CT Chambers of Commerce, said that Max Pizza IV is “another fine restaurant establishment” for the Bristol area.
“It’s great to see someone being successful and retrofitting one of our old buildings into something new,” she said.
Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said that she had already been to Max Pizza IV several times after their soft opening.
“I think every time we add another dining option in the city it is a win-win,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the number of residents and owners of surrounding businesses that I have seen supporting them already.”
Justin Malley, executive director of the Bristol Development Authority, said Max Pizza’s new location was “unbelievable.”
“It’s great to see a long-time, family-owned business being so successful,” he said. “While they have expanded to other towns, they have never lost focus on supporting the Bristol community. This is like the flagship location.”
Councilor Joshua Medeiros, who attended the ribbon cutting, said he had also previously stopped at Max Pizza IV.
“I love the atmosphere and the food and I encourage people to check it out,” he said. “Whenever I’ve driven by, I’ve always seen it packed. They’re off to a good start.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.