Nfld. & Labrador

Peter's Pizza founder Peter Mathioudakis dead at 77

The founder and patriarch of Peter's Pizza, the oldest pizza empire in Newfoundland and Labrador, has died at the age of 77.
Peter Mathioudakis Jr., left, and John Mathioudakis have both worked with their parents at the family restaurants. They say even though both parents are dead, they'll always work at their sides. (CBC)

The founder and patriarch of Peter's Pizza, the oldest pizza empire in Newfoundland and Labrador, has died at the age of 77.

Peter Mathioudakis opened his first pizza shop in St. John's 39 years ago, and the family-owned chain became a local favourite.

The friendly face of Mathioudakis graced the top of the pizza boxes, but behind the chain was also his family.

Soula, his wife, and their two sons and one daughter, left Greece more than 40 years ago with just one suitcase. The family ended up taking over a fish and chips shop in downtown St. John's.

From the very beginning, the family lived under one rule: work.

"Every day after school we'd go back to the pizza shop and peel potatoes, whatever we could do at that age — making pizza," said Peter Mathioudakis Jr.

"And then we'd go home maybe seven or eight o'clock, and growing up there was no such thing as a weekend off."

While there may have been some tough years, his sons said Mathioudakis's smile never faltered, nor did his fabled generosity — like the free Christmas pizzas for regular customers.

Then, things started to happen for the family business. They opened more locations, and then came Mama Soula's, a family restaurant that brought the mother's name into the brand.

"She passed away in 2009, but she helped us with the recipes and she helped us start that from scratch. She was in there cooking and showing us how to do everything, the way that she used to do it back in Greece," said John Mathioudakis.

"We have worked with our parents since the beginning, so, they are always going to be next to our side."

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