BRISTOL – On the corner of Federal and Maple streets, a cozy local pizzeria is celebrating 25 years of business.
Since 1994, LJ’s Pizza Restaurant has been dishing up some tasty pies and saucy calzones to the community.
“It’s been a great 25 years,” said owner and founder of LJ’s Pizza Jim Stamatopoulos. “I enjoy what I do and I’ve met a lot of people. From customers to coworkers, my favorite part has been creating these personal experiences.”
Born in Athens, Greece, Stamatopoulos migrated to Springfield, Massachusetts, as a young child. When he was a young teenager, Stamatopoulos would help at local pizzerias.
“I worked in restaurants all my life. My uncle owned a pizzeria place in Massachusetts, so I learned a lot from him. Growing up in a Greek community, I learned a lot from my peers. They taught me how to run a business and how to cook. It was my dream to open up my own place. The restaurant business is in my blood,” Stamatopoulos said.
Saving up his money, Stamatopoulos was looking to buy his own place. At the time he didn’t know too much about Bristol, but he purchased the property on Maple Street, which he said was a “great move.”
“The Bristol community has been very supportive. We want to say thank you to the customers. We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Stamatopoulos.
When Stamatopoulos isn’t cooking his locally-famous BLT pizza, he’s active with the Greek Orthodox Church and the community.
“Bristol has been so supportive to us, we want to give back. We donate food to the Greek Festival, to the Zion Lutheran Church, to the YMCA and to school organizations. Whether it’s in forms of food or monetary donations, we want to support local organizations,” Stamatopoulos said.
On top of operating LJ’s Pizza, Stamatopoulos recently opened Bristol Sports Bar and Grille on North Main St., in Bristol back in September.
For more information about LJ’s Pizza, visit their website at www.ljspizza.4mg.com or call them at 860-582-4115.
Kayla Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.