Congressman Learns the Pizza Business for a Day

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes knows how to craft a piece of legislation, but can he make a pizza? Turns out he can, and he proved it recently when he showed up at Original Pappa’s Pizza Downtown in Stamford, Connecticut, and joined owner Harry Zopounidis and his team in the kitchen.

Himes, now in his sixth term representing Connecticut’s 4th District, visited the pizzeria as part of his “Jim On Your Job” outreach, in which the Democrat visits his constituents' businessesand learns about the challenges they face in their work.

Zopounidis tasked Himeswith making a pepperoni pie, which the congressman also delivered to a customer. Himes told Patch.com that pepperoni is his topping of choice. “I’m a traditionalist in that way, and it lets you know how each different pizza shop handles the basics.”

But this wasn’t Himes’ first time to make a pizza. He worked in a pizzeria as a youth. So instead of dealing with the learning curve, he took the time to ask Zopounidis about the pizza business. “(He) was great,” Zopounidis told Patch.com. “He was very relaxed and easy to talk to. We need more of that—seeing how small businesses work and what it takes to run them.”

As part of the “Jim On Your Job” series, Himes has also visited a farm in Easton, where he milked a cow, and delivered packages for UPS in Norwalk. But the visit to Original Pappa’s mixed business with pleasure, since he’s already a fan of their pizza—the store is located down the street from his office.

“I think everyone who has spent a significant amount of time in Stamford has been to Pappa’s for pizza or a calzone,” Himes told Patch.com. “Before my visit, I didn’t realize it was a family-run business. You never fully have appreciation for a business until you pull back the curtain and see how it operates day to day.”