George’s Greek Village has become a local success story that just celebrated 7 years of bringing the Niagara Region the best in Greek food.
The incredible waterside restaurant has become the go-to place in the area for authentic Greek cuisine and the best views in town with ships passing by regularly.
A Family Tradition
With a long family history in the restaurant business that started at the Pine Centre Restaurant in Thorold in 1975, owner George Kountourogiannis is no stranger to the hard work and dedication it takes to find success in the hospitality business.
Says George: “I loved the kitchen. I would stand there and watch my dad cook and eventually I was opening the kitchen up myself at 12 years old on Sundays. I had a passion for cooking even back then!”
After the original restaurant was sold, George moved on to working in a factory to support his growing family until a car accident changed everything, as did his extended family’s move to buy a Greek restaurant on Lake Street in St. Catharines.
Below, George’s parents who hail from Greece and have been fundamental in his journey within the food industry.
After years of perfecting his dishes, and understanding the desires of his customers, it was time to move on and make a budding dream come true with the pursuit of beginning his own restaurant.
“We started looking for a new location and the owners of the old Frado’s Dining Lounge were selling which was the perfect spot, so George’s Greek Village was officially born.”
The Good and the Bad
The good news for George was that the location was magnificent with tons of parking and an unprecedented view of the waterway, the bad news was the building would need extensive renovations before it was ready to be opened. But it was a challenge he was up for and embraced with anticipation.
“There was so much to do! It was a 1.3 million dollar sale and renovation and 13 months of incredibly hard work.”
“It was absolutely worth it though, says George. The design my brother-in-law did and the final outcome of everything, the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous and I love it!”
Success Makes it Harder
From day one when the restaurant opened, George says they did so many things on the fly and just kept their heads down working towards and goal of making it. However the incredible success that has the eatery packed to the seams almost every day and night has added pressure.
Says George:, “It is actually harder now after 7 years because when you’re (knock on wood) successful, you have to maintain being successful!”
Creating the Best in Authentic Greek Food
George has taken many of the recipes his mother cooked growing up and made them his own. A dedication to making everything in house, fresh and authentic has won and the hearts and appetites of customers who keep coming back for more! (some of the many dishes below)
Keeping it Creative
Creating new and surprising dishes is also a passion of George who works tirelessly at finding new ways to present the flavours of Greece to his guests. Working with other chefs and travelling to Greece for inspiration have all been part of his tool kit and he often creates WEEKEND FEATURE dishes that highlight these new creations.
Dedication & Support is Key
With days that start at 8:30 am in the morning and often go to 11:00 pm at night, George’s dedication and hard work have been keys to the success of his business that he is so passionate about. He jokes lovingly of his wife Cheryl “I would have been divorced three times if I was married to any other woman!”
Through the years George’s sons have both worked at the restaurant and his wife does the bookkeeping to this day. Their unwavering support has helped tremendously in building the business.
The fast pace of George’s Greek Village requires top notch staff that can deliver amazing food and service under pressure and George acknowledges that a core staff have continued with him many years to make the restaurant experience the best it can be.
Central to that is his front of house Manager Daniela Goldsworthy.
“I’ve known Daniela since I was about 10 years old and she does so much, it would be very hard for me to run this place without her”, reflects George.
With a focus on providing” good food, good service, good portions and good pricing” and a dedication to contributing to the community at large that they serve, George’s Greek Village has found a winning combination that resonates within the Niagara Region.
To this day the restaurant still contributes to $2 to Community Care of St Catharines and Thorold for each Chicken Kebob Meal Deal sold (a deal which originated during Covid and was extended indefinitely due to its popularity).
George see the future as one that he will “always have his thumb in the kitchen.” With a passion for cooking that just seems to grow he enjoys the daily challenges and can’t envision a day when he won’t be involved.
“At the end of the day I love what I do and I am able to do it because of our incredible customers. They could choose to go anywhere but they choose to come here and it inspires me every day. I am so grateful for everything and where this journey has taken me!”
George’s Greek Village
535 Queenston St., St Catharines, ON L2R 7K6
TAKE OUT/DELIVERY/RESERVATIONS: 905-684-5484 OR 905-684-5485 https://www.georgesgreekvillage.com