DARIEN — In the new year, more players at the Darien Ice Rink may be scrambling for the penalty box — Penalty Box Pizza, that is. The Penalty Box Pizza and Grill is now the ice rink’s source of fuel for players, families and skaters of all ages.

The new pizzeria/grill did a soft open at the ice rink on Dec. 27 where they served pizza to fans at the Darien vs. New Canaan game mere hours after being granted approval to open.

“It was a last minute thing,” said The Penalty Box owner, Bobby Giagkos. “We got our approvals at 3 that afternoon and we opened at 5 (9 p.m.).”

“There were 500 people [at the game],” Giagkos added. “It was nuts and everyone was happy.”

The Penalty Box only served pizza and sodas as part of their soft open, but began selling its full menu which includes salads, grinders, sandwiches, and their popular chicken turnover on Jan. 3. They will operate during the regular hours of the rink.

In addition to meals, The Penalty Box will also serve appetizers, desserts such as cheesecake, and fried foods. Salads and wraps will be available in a grab and go case and hot chocolate, coffee, bagels and croissants will be available as breakfast options in the morning. True to its name, the eatery will also serve up pizzas available with cheese, veggie, Hawaiian and buffalo chicken toppings. The pies will also be available in small slices to appeal to pint0sized players.

“There’s a little bit for everybody,” Giagkos said. “The chicken turnover, that’s our staple item. The pizza is very good and unique, but the chicken turnover is going to give us a lot of publicity. It’s something to talk about.”

Pizza is a speciality for Giagkos, who is also the owner of Mike’s Pizza in Fairfield and Crossroads Pizza House in Norwalk. Giagkos has been working in pizzerias since he was 15 and started helping out at Post Corner Pizza in Darienon weekends.

“It’s what I learned from when I was young growing up, just being around restaurants, pizzerias,” he said. “It’s what I’m good at.”

Giagkos heard of the space opening up at the ice rink through a friend of his. Darien Pizza and Grill occupied the space for a year up until this summer.

“It was a good opportunity because in Fairfield, the majority of my clientele is in high school,” he said. “My menu’s pretty much cater to that age group and this is the perfect opportunity.”

Giagkos also hopes to cater to the offices sharing a parking lot with the rink.

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata