Our Story Begins in Greece...
From the time he was a child growing up in a war-torn, impoverished village in Epirus, Greece, Paul Lambrou believed in the promise of America. The Greek people were still suffering from the devastation wrought by both World War II and the civil war that followed quickly on its heels. Food was scarce and daily life was a struggle.
Then, one day at school, something extraordinary happened. The children were asked to gather around so that they could be given something special—it was food from America! Paul remembers bringing home cheese and other goods from America to his mother and watching her scramble in the American cheese with the few eggs their chickens had produced. It was the first time he had ever seen cheese melt! He and his siblings ate the delicious, hearty meal and in Paul's mind, America would forever be a place associated with generosity and abundance.
Chasing The American Dream
In 1956, Paul married a young woman named Stephanie and began to seek work opportunities wherever he could. After several stints of working in German factories and being away from his growing family for months, he knew he would have to do something different. Although he and his wife both had relatives who had emigrated to Germany, Paul had never felt truly accepted there. He was viewed simply as hired labor, and never felt that Germany could be a home for him. Australia was another option—several of Paul's siblings had already moved there —but the young couple could not picture living in such a remote land.
It was never a real question in either of their minds—they would go to America. In America, anything was possible if you had a goal and worked hard to achieve it. America also offered another powerful and unique opportunity—the chance to become an American citizen. For Paul and Stephanie, who never forgot the American generosity they experienced as children, earning American citizenship would be an honor.
Working Hard in Worcester
In 1968, when Paul and Stephanie arrived with their five children (Tina, baby number six, would be born in the U.S.), they had little more than the clothes on their back. With the help of Stephanie's older brother, Fred, who had bravely come to the United States on his own at age fifteen on a ship bound for Ellis Island many years prior, they settled in Worcester, Massachusetts and immediately went to work.
Paul made pies at the Table Talk Pie factory and Stephanie was hired as a cleaner in a hospital. They worked long hours while their children went to school and learned English. When the children were old enough to work, they too found jobs, and everyone saved whatever money they could for a future dream that had yet to materialize. Their parents, never losing sight of their goal of creating a better life for their kids, learned of an opportunity: a little pizza shop in the growing town of Cumberland, Rhode Island was for sale. Paul, his three sons, and his new son-in-law, pooled their resources and made it happen.
A True Family Business
Since that time, generations of family members have worked at Cumberland House of Pizza. After decades of hard work and sacrifice, knowing that the restaurant was in good hands, Paul and Stephanie were able to retire and return to their beloved village in the mountains of Epirus, Greece.
Charlie, Steve, Ted, Tina, Freddie, and her husband Christos took over the reins, and through their commitment and care, the restaurant continued to grow. The siblings instilled a strong work ethic into their children and nieces and nephews, many of whom started by bussing tables as kids.
Behind the counter today a third generation of family members is poised to lead the Cumberland House of Pizza into the future. Along with Steve and Ted at the helm, you will find Freddie, Christos's son Nick, Steve's daughters Stacie and Kayla and Stacie's husband Zach, alongside Charlie's son Paul and Paul's wife Jerilyn.
Building Our Family in the Community
Cumberland House of Pizza has seen many transformations over the years. Along with our community, we have weathered many storms and some difficult times. We believe it is our relationships with each other, our valued employees, and our great friends in the community that have carried us through these challenges and given us great hope for the future.
Family is at the heart of who we are and what we do. Through the years we have watched many families grow and thrive. Children who we first met as toddlers have grown up and gone off to college, gotten married, and returned to CHOP with families of their own. Sadly, we've also lost many beloved friends over the years who we considered members of our extended family. We think of them often and know that our lives have been enriched by their presence in so many ways. We consider ourselves blessed by the many lifelong friendships and relationships we have made in the community.
Looking Forward to Another 50 Years
As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary this year, the Lambrou family is excited about the possibility of future expansion projects and is looking forward to the next phase in the evolution of the Cumberland House of Pizza. We hope that Cumberland House of Pizza continues to be a warm and inviting gathering place for friends and families who are in search of a good meal and a welcoming atmosphere for many years to come. We extend our deepest gratitude not only for your patronage over the years, but for your support, and your friendship.