Popular Windsor restaurant Thanasi’s closes its doors after 41 years
Each working day given that the operator of Thanasi’s Olympus Greek Cafe in Windsor, Ont. introduced he would be retiring, Nick Pontikis claims the spot has been packed like it would be on New Year’s Eve.
“The outpouring of aid and really like from the group has been just overpowering. Day-to-day, it is a cry-fest at Thanasi’s,” he explained.
But immediately after 41 a long time in business, Pontikis and his workers are declaring farewell to Windsor as Thanasi’s closes its doors for the incredibly past time on Saturday.
Along with his wife, Pontikis opened Olympus Greek BBQ in Forest Glade in 1981.
“At the time, there were no smartphones. There ended up no personal computers. Windows 95 was however 14 many years absent,” he said.
The restaurant would relocate to downtown Windsor in 1983. 5 years later on, Pontikis acquired the developing wherever Thanasi’s has operated for a lot more than three decades, on the corner of Tecumseh Road East and Pierre Avenue.
“We introduced Greek food to Windsor,” explained Pontikis. “Prior to that, there were just a pair of souvlaki and gyro locations. But that’s in essence Greek rapid meals.”
He continued, “We launched flaming cheese to Windsor. The ‘Opa!’ — tzatziki sauce, moussaka, pastitsio. I know these are Greek to most people. But when I point out these dishes, people start out drooling.”
For the previous 6 months, the restaurant has put out a box at the entrance the place shoppers can publish properly-needs to Pontikis and his personnel.
Fans of Thanasi’s have been leaving ‘farewell notes’ for the personnel ever considering the fact that Pontikis announced the cafe would be closing its doors. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)
When requested to read out some of the notes to CTV News, Pontikis said it would be way too tough to do so without having crying.
But 1 of the most tough moments of getting through the restaurant’s ultimate dinner provider on Saturday, Pontikis stated, is looking at the faces of clients indicating a single past goodbye.
“We didn’t realize how a lot they liked us. We’ve experienced three generations coming as a result of our doorways — people bringing in their toddlers and other babies that deliver in their infants,” he said.
Combating back again tears, Pontikis was also confident to credit score his staff members for their yrs of loyalty.
“I have been working the kitchen area with some incredible team. Most of my workers have been with me virtually because 1981. I cannot get rid of them,” he claimed, with a chortle.
When asked what he strategies to do all through retirement, the 65-year-previous pointed to a photo from 2018 up on the partitions of the cafe.
In it, Pontikis has hit toes kicked up in entrance of his beachside loved ones dwelling in Athens.
In the course of that excursion 4 many years back, his head was nevertheless focused on the restaurant. But soon after Saturday, Pontikis explained, he’ll be significantly additional relaxed in the days ahead.
“I’m likely to commit a lot more time in Greece and vacation a bit — and even choose my golf clubs out of storage,” he stated. “It’ll just be wonderful not obtaining to worry about the restaurant.”