After 40 years: Post Corner Pizza remains a Darien icon

When Chris Seth returned to Darien for a day after being gone for nearly 30 years, he chose one restaurant to take his family to — Post Corner Pizza.

“Everything is excellent,” Seth said of the famous eatery that celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. His wife, Benedetta, added that the “service was excellent.”

The couple’s children, Thomas and Silvana, didn’t say much as their attention focused on the savory flavors dancing on their taste buds.

Reactions like these have helped the restaurant prosper for more than four decades, according to current owner Peter Kousidis.

“People always connect this place with Darien,” Kousidis said, as he paused during a Monday lunch rush to speak with The Darien Times. “I’ve had customers from Darien who were visiting Hong Kong and people asked them if they knew where Post Corner Pizza was.”

Some Post Corner-philes border on the fanatic. Kousidis has twice sent pizzas to California where the customer paid four times more for shipping than for the actual pizzas, which were half cooked, air-sealed and frozen upon arrival to a West Coast restaurant, which promptly finished off the pie in its oven, sealing the deal on the ambitious transaction.

Another North Carolina customer wanted Post Corner pizza for his 40th birthday, so Kousidis obliged and sent him the pie. One night, a woman showed up just before closing and told Kousidis that she would have canceled her flight the next morning to sate her Post Corner craving if the eatery wasn’t open.

The secret to this widespread adulation?

“It’s a combination of everything,” Kousidis said coyly. His pizza-making begins with high-quality flour, homemade sauce and using a mix of whole milk mozzarella cheeses. Post Corner’s Chicago style Greek pizza is different from Italian and New York style because of how the dough is prepared and how the pizza is cooked, Kousidis said.

Instead of tossing the dough, lining with sauce, cheese and toppings right before cooking, Post Corner lets the sauce sit on the spread out dough for a little while before cooking it. This method might seem time-consuming, but it hasn’t stopped the restaurant from churning out some 300 pizzas an hour, Kousidis said.

It’s not just pizza that makes the Corner stand out. Middle schoolers Christie Carnes, Taylor Conrad and Laine Elummer are there almost every weekend.

“The salad is really good,” Christie said, as the friends split a Greek salad, which comes with greens, olives, tomatoes, peppers and feta cheese.

Kousidis hasn’t changed much of anything after buying the restaurant five years ago from the original owner, John Sofronas, who opened the place in 1971. He’s added a few pizza toppings, some wraps and Italian dishes, but Sofronas’ recipes remain unaltered.

His approach appears to be working. Longtime manager Jimmy Gianoglou has remained on board after more than 30 years at the restaurant, and several other employees have been there for more than a decade. The well-oiled machine of Post Corner Pizza is also known for its quick service, bringing food to tables in as little as five minutes, and hardly ever more than 15.

Kousidis considers himself a hands-on owner. “I like to be involved in everything,” he said, “prepping food, cooking, everything.” The father of three was born in Greece and worked in construction before venturing into cuisine.

“The best part of my job is interacting with people,” Kousidis said. “I like to do things to make people happy.”

Post Corner also supports various community causes, having helped with school events and fundraisers, such as the Hindley Happening and Pi Day at Darien High School.

The owner has another plan to give back, but this time it’s for everyone. To commemorate the 40th anniversary, Post Corner is offering small and large pizzas at 1970s prices over a three-day period in May.

Forty people will also be selected through a raffle drawing to pay 1970s prices for 40 weeks. These prices are less than half of what pies are going for today.

Even though the economy remains stagnant in many areas, and food prices have generally soared, Post Corner has maintained a steady flow of customers and has kept its prices modest, Kousidis said.

“What we want to do is offer fair prices and good food, always fresh,” he said.

ddesroches@darientimes.com

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