Windsor Eats: Jim’s Pizza

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Grace Rodner '25

Jim’s Pizzaria: a student favorite.

Grace Rodner '25, Contributor

A town favorite for more than half a century, Jim’s Pizza was founded on March 2, 1966, by Jim and Helen Nikolis with “3,000 borrowed dollars, speaking virtually no English, but … commitment to each other and a big dream,” said Pamela Nikolis, Jim and Helen’s daughter, who currently runs Jim’s Pizza.
Originally residing on 16 Poquonock Avenue, Jim’s moved in 1978 to its current location on 124 Poquonock Avenue, which is a short twenty-minute walk from Loomis Chaffee. Jim and Helen grew up in neighboring villages in Greece but interestingly did not meet each other until moving to the United States. Helen, who still owns this family business, moved to America when she was 16 and met her future husband Jim in Boston before the couple moved to Windsor.
Since its founding, Jim’s Pizza has established a reputation as one of Windsor’s favorite restaurants. Not only does Jim’s offer wonderful food, but it does so with a family-friendly atmosphere that mirrors its owners. Jim’s Pizza is a true family-run business, as the entire Nikolis family has worked there at some point in the past 50 years, including their son Christos Nikolis who graduated from Loomis Chaffee in 1986.
Family recipes—from the pizza to the sauces and the meatballs—go back generations, having stayed the same since the original Jim’s creation. One of Jim’s most popular dishes, “aside from the most obvious cheese pizza, because everyone loves cheese,” according to restaurant manager Rayce Bianchi, is the rattlesnake pasta, which is a tantalizing mix of jalapeños, shrimp, and chicken smothered in a cream rosé sauce.
Bianchi discussed how the pandemic has affected the restaurant over the last couple of years, explaining how it has “drastically changed things. We’ve had to lay people off, we’ve had to cut back on hours, we lost a lot of business for a while, but, luckily, Windsor did a lot to help small businesses … The town really pulled through.”
Windsor and Loomis are inextricably linked to the history of Jim’s Pizza. Pam Nikolis values Jim’s relationship with LC greatly, explaining that the restaurant gets “a lot of Loomis teachers, sports teams, and students–they’ve just always been a giant part of Jim’s Pizza.”
Bianchi added that they “do a lot of catering events for Loomis …and, when away teams come in, Loomis will send them here, so we have got a very good relationship.”