(Decatur, Georgia, United States) – The Papadopoulos family, who originally came from Athens, Greece in 1963 to create a new life in the United States, is celebrating their 50th year in business with Athens Pizza, a restaurant that is located in Atlanta, Georgia. The family originally moved to Southbridge, Massachusetts from Greece and eventually moved to Georgia. In the early days, the John Papadopoulos worked hard supporting his family working the graveyard shift at a factory that made glasses. He also tossed pizza dough at a local pizza shop.
The pizza shop owner retired in 1965 and John saw an opportunity – he bought the owner’s pizza recipe for $1000 and shortly after that, opened his first pizza shop. Athens Pizza’s original shop was opened in 1966 in Putnam, Connecticut. After ten years of being in business, the Papadopoulos family had expanded their business as they opened several more locations throughout New England. After ten years of being in business, John decided to retire. He sold all his pizza shops and moved his family back to Greece. This lasted only six months.
Sandy, John’s daughter explained that this retirement didn’t last. She said, “For six months, Athens Pizza was nonexistent. Then, my father got bored.” In February of 1977, they had come back to the United States in Connecticut. The family had a difficult time readjusting to the winter weather in New England, so they decided to visit a family member in Georgia. They loved it so much they decided to move their. During that trip, John decided to settle his family in Georgia. They opened Athens Pizza in Georgia as soon as they moved.
Although the business started slowly at its first location in Georgia, with the help of the local Greek community and a loyal group of square-dancers, they got through the challenging beginning stages. Now, Athens Pizza is officially in its 50th year of business and is showing no signs of slowing down. Currently, their shop is in Decetur, Georgia at 1341 Clairmont Road.