In an age of factory farms and frozen, prepackaged food, Tom Havelos believes that his method of cooking is what sets their restaurant apart from others.
“If you’re in the restaurant business, you might as well do it working, not standing around telling somebody, ‘Hey, pick up those frozen meatballs and put them in the microwave,’” Tom Havelos said. “There’s a lot of people all over that deal in fast food and frozen stuff, and we don’t need one more.”
A typical week for Constantinos Havelos and the rest of the Greeks’ family consists of 80 hours of work. By 10 o’clock in the morning, the kitchen is loud with the sounds of sizzling pans and Greek music. Customers might not experience the full-time effort that the Haveloses and their employees put in, but Constantine Havelos said he believes that his work is appreciated.
“We put a lot of ourselves into this, and I think people know that,” Constantinos Havelos said.
Tom Havelos said that the restaurant has a way of waking up the senses. His son Peter currently studies at Virginia Commonwealth University’s dental school, and Constantinos Havelos is interested in studying law at George Mason University. Tom Havelos said that the restaurant will be there for them in the future, regardless of their success.
“They have a lot to be thankful for,” Tom Havelos said. “They might not recognize it now, but later on they can fall back on that…and it’s a good thing to fall back on - cooking is always good.”
In a town that loses a majority of its residents during the summer months, the Greeks’ Restaurant and Grill might seem like an underdog. Even without the country’s recession, being a small, family-owned business is a challenge for many restaurant owners.
“The fact that we can exist in a society that’s really taking a beating in the recession is a triumph for me,” Tom Havelos said. “Every time I have a good day here or I do a special and it’s a real sellout, I feel like I have triumphed.”