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Peter and Ermioni Kokis stand in front of the dining area of Our Place Pizza Restaurant. (Photo credit: Mark Dionne)

Pizza a family affair at Our Place

When the Pizza King restaurant closed over two years ago, Peter Kokis was retired and living in Greece but his connection to the restaurant pulled him back to America and the pizza business with the opening of Our Place Pizza Restaurant.

Kokis taught himself to make pizza shortly after arriving in America on a date he delivers specifically, “June 3, 1968.” After arriving, Kokis cooked in New Haven for a while. Even in that city famous for its thin pies, Kokis used his Greek heritage. “They do make Greek style pizza in New Haven,” Kokis said.

Kokis opened the Pizza King in 1972 at 2100 South Main Street, Middletown, just outside of Middlefield.

After years of running the restaurant, Kokis sold the restaurant in 2002 and semi-retired to Greece for 11 years, where he was a fisherman. “It started as a hobby, but then I made money.”

When he heard that the restaurant he started was closing, Kokis started the lengthy process of acquiring the building and reopening it as Our Place. Kokis said he was tempted to remain retired but appreciates the challenge.

After the addition of a patio, painting and repairs to the floors, cooler, and plumbing, the restaurant re-opened as Our Place in August, 2013.

“When people found out that I came back, they honored me. They came back,” Kokis said. People who used to eat in Pizza King as kids have returned with their kids to Our Place.

Our Place, which is open for lunch and dinner, offers a full menu with appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, grinders, pasta, chicken, seafood, and beef. The children’s menu includes pasta, cheeseburgers, and chicken fingers. The restaurant also has a full bar.

The specialty, however, is pizza. Kokis said many experiments led to the creation of his recipe. Kokis described Greek style pizza, “It’s pizza pan. It’s not the thick and it’s not the thin. It’s in between.”

For the summer, Our Place will open dining on the patio in back and expand its menu.

Cooking is a family affair at Our Place. Kokis’ wife Ermioni, daughter Julieta, and son Bill all work at Our Place. That is an atmosphere Kokis hopes to extend to the restaurant. “My goal is to make it a respectable, family-type restaurant,” Kokis said. “We like people. We respect people. We try to make them feel at home.”



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