What’s Good Here | Camden House of Pizza Restaurant

Special to The StateApril 24, 2013 

Georgia Patoulas, owner of Camden House of Pizza Restaurant.

SPECIAL TO THE STATE — Deena C. Bouknight

  • CAMDEN HOUSE OF PIZZA 545 E. DeKalb St., Camden

    PRICES: Around $6 to around $12 for some larger dinner items

    HOURS: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.

    INFO: (803) 432-1446

What’s good here?

Pizza – and it has been for the 23 years. However, in recent years, owner Georgia Patoulas has been implementing more of her Greek heritage into the menu. She added Greek hummus – drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and served with fried pita chips crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Some of the Greek staples already on the menu are the chicken or pork souvlaki dinner and sandwich, the gyro dinner or sandwich, and the chicken or pork tenderloin over rice.

Greek-style homemade spaghetti is served with feta cheese, special seasonings and extra virgin olive oil. Chicken can be added. There is also a pasta dish with marinated chicken breast, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and seasonings served with a homemade sauce and topped with cheese. Chicken casserole is the same, but not served with the pasta – for those avoiding carbs. There are salads, Italian baked pasta dishes, strombolis and subs.

And then there is the pizza. Georgia’s mother, who owned the restaurant with her husband before her daughter became the owner 16 years ago, still comes in most mornings to make the homemade pizza crust. There is a choice of standard pizza of toppings for both the regular-sized pizzas and the personal pita pizzas.

What else?

Sides include garlic bread or garlic bread with cheese, feta, imported Greek olives and tzatziki, which is a special Greek sauce. Beer and wine is also available. There are also vegetarian selections on the menu, such as the vegetarian stromboli. Patoulas does not have a specific catering menu, but locals know they can call on her to occasionally put together dishes for their special events.

What is the history of Camden House of Pizza Restaurant?

Patoulas’s parents emigrated from Greece to America when she was nine months old. They brought their love of food and family recipes and began working in and then owning restaurants. They purchased Camden House of Pizza on the main thoroughfare of Camden 23 years ago. At the time, it was primarily a pizza joint. They added their Greek flair to the ambiance and the menu. Patoulas’s parents, Atha and Soula Megadrosos, are now officially retired, but they are still involved in the business in some ways. Patoulas, who is married and has two children, is raising her children on Greek food. She said her mother will often cook for them the same recipes served in the restaurant.

What does the place look like?

About five years ago, Patoulas renovated to lighten the interior and bring even more Greek influence to the décor. The storefront windows were replaced, new carpet was added, and wainscoting was installed. However, the dramatic addition involved local artist Colt Shirley. He painted large, colorful scenes of Greece – including the Acropolis with the Parthenon, the Temple of Nike and the island of Rhodes throughout. Above the cash register and kitchen area is a mural of the Island of Patmos where the disciple John wrote Revelation. Patoulas went through many travel books of photography with her family to determine which scenes to show the artist. “He did a good job,” she says, explaining that the murals greatly added to the ambiance of the 60-seat establishment. “We’ve been to Greece multiple times and these murals reflect our travels there.”

Who eats here?

“I do,” says Patoulas. She said she never tires of Greek dishes – such as the chicken souvlaki. “And I think the pizzas are awesome.” Even though she has a dedicated staff – some of whom have been with her for many years – she is able to cook all the dishes if necessary in the restaurant’s kitchen. Besides the locals, whom she views as an extended family, the restaurant attracts many visitors to Camden for the various equestrian events. Some visitors return again and again.

She had T-shirts made for the staff that read: “Welcome to the family!” She says, “That about sums it up! I’ve seen kids grow up, people became grandparents … People come in here and we catch up.”

 

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