For a decade, Chrisoula and Kostas Adelianakis have owned the Mr. Gyros greek restaurant in Washington. But Friday signaled the end of their run as the couple headed into retirement.
While the Adelianakises look forward to upcoming trips to their native Athens, they assured local residents who have grown to love their culinary treasure that they’re leaving the eatery in good hands. From West Maiden Street will continue to waft the aroma of a freshly trimmed gyro spit because Mr. Gyros will continue to live on – albeit under new ownership. “It’s been a family-owned business and it’s going to remain a family business,” said new owner John Elmore of Washington.
Elmore said he first became interested in the investment after conversations with a mutual friend. A retired coal miner for Consol Energy, Elmore purchased the shop as a way to give his family the opportunity to work together in the restaurant business. He said his daughter, Janelle Hancher, and stepson, Patrick Sisul, will run the daily operations.
Even Hancher’s 9-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, hoped to get into the action. She has been asking how long she would have to wait before she could start serving tables.
“I’m really excited,” Jacqueline said. “It’s hard to explain, but it’s just really cool that my parents get to run this restaurant.”
Sisul, of Canonsburg, has been a chef in the food service industry for more than 10 years and will be in charge of the Mr. Gyros menu. They have also hired Konstantina Damabotgs, former owner of a Mike and Tony’s location, as part of the cooking staff. Elmore said they may eventually tweak some menu items but, for at least the first few months, the menu will stay the same.
“We don’t know for sure if we’re changing the tzatziki sauce,” Elmore said of the creamy cucumber sauce that adorns every traditional gyro.
During the Adeliankises’ last day in charge, the family took time to thank the members of the Washington community that enabled them to flourish.
“Ten years ago we came here,” Chrisoula Adelianakis said. “At first, we had to fight for our culture. Now, our customers told us how much they love the Greek culture and community.”
Adelianakis, at times teary-eyed while talking about the family’s gratitude to their clients, was full of stories detailing the long journey of Mr. Gyros. The eatery has come a long way since its earliest days when a customer looked at the register and declared, “I want American food.”
Included among these tales were stories of the restaurant saving a marriage because neither partner could cook, customers dodging holes in the sidewalk during construction and a cancer survivor who could only keep down the lentil soup while undergoing chemotherapy.
The Adelianakises, who live in North Strabane Township, said although they are looking forward to some much-needed time off, they were going to miss sharing their food with their patrons.
“We’ve been here pretty much every day for 10 years,” Chrisoula said. “Never called off. We’re looking forward to taking a vacation to Greece and spending the holiday with all of our extended family.”
The new owner hopes to replicate the restaurant’s family atmosphere.
“I just want to help carrying on the legacy of Chrisoula,” Hancher said. “She’s the Mother Theresa of restaurants. It’ll be hard, but I’m going to try and fill her shoes.”