Family Pizza, where family comes first, is a comfortable and friendly spot located in the heart of downtown Niantic. Co-owners Helen and Sophia Halidis, a mother and daughter duo, describe their business in three words – family, pizza and community. All three are essential ingredients to their long-time success. Family Pizza has been owned by the same family for more than 30 years. Helen and Sophia took over ownership from their cousins Harry and Tony in June 2020. Helen says, “The timing was right for the women in the family to step up.” And that’s just what they’ve done.
Helen has a wealth of experience in the industry, starting from when she was 16 years old and working for her family at Angie’s Pizza in Mystic. In her lengthy career she’s worked at – and owned – a few successful restaurants, but the pizza business is truly her passion and joy. Before buying Family Pizza, Helen was the General Manager for three high-volume venues at Foxwoods Resort Casino for many years.
Sophia has worked in the industry alongside her parents since she was a kid. After high school, she spent ten years working as a server/bartender for high-end venues at Foxwoods Resort Casino. We’re delighted that Helen and Sophia have brought their wealth of experience right here to Main Street.
The team at Family Pizza works together to deliver the best possible pizza to their customers. They’re known for their Greek-style pizza, unique because of the way they make their dough. When you pick up a slice of their pizza, it doesn’t flop. It holds all of the ingredients. They are also known for their house-made Greek chicken lemon soup (avgolemono) made with orzo. And a trip to Family Pizza isn’t complete without a serving of delicious house-made rice pudding. Their secret ingredient makes it unique to Family Pizza.
They also sell wine and beer to complement your meal.
Because of its ideal location, Family Pizza’s outside patio is the perfect place to relax with a cup of hot chocolate during the Niantic Light Parade or gather with family and friends to enjoy the town’s many summer events.
Family Pizza enjoys being part of such a tight-knit community. Helen says, “We have received overwhelming support since Sophia and I took over the business.” Many who have come to know the family and the quality of food over the years have stopped in to welcome them to the newest chapter for the restaurant. Long-time customers were excited to order their favorite meals and to see what’s new. Helen is quick to point out that support from the other businesses in town has been overwhelmingly heartwarming. Many business owners have popped in to introduce themselves and to wish them luck.
Since taking over the establishment, the new owners have given the restaurant a facelift – one that reflects our special shoreline location. They’re in the process of freshening up the dining room with paint, new flooring and new tables and chairs to create a relaxed coastal dining experience.
They’ve also made some changes to be sure they’re following Covid-19 regulations. They have fewer tables to accommodate the 50 percent capacity requirement, and all condiments are in closed containers.
When they are allowed to get back to full capacity, Family Pizza plans to add outdoor dining by expanding past the patio during the busy summer months. They also plan to add some Greek and seasonal specials using local, fresh ingredients. Helen says, “In five years, we hope to be bigger and better, welcoming our local, loyal patrons as well as new customers from near and far.”
Family Pizza is excited to participate in Niantic and East Lyme Restaurant Week, extended this year to ten days, March 4 – 14. They’ll be offering a complimentary dessert with an entrée when you mention Restaurant Week. Supporting these small businesses means so much to them. It truly helps them to keep their doors open, especially during the winter months.
233 Main Street, Niantic
About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.