“I was so determined to survive this,” says owner and founder Georgia Stathoulis. “I didn’t want to go down.”
Georgia’s opened on April 14, 1977 after Georgia and her husband, Dennis Stathoulis, moved to San Diego. Originally from Greece, Georgia and Dennis chose the coast because it reminded them of their home country.
Georgia says she does not intend to expand her Rosecrans Street restaurant, though she does plan on staying open for many more years. “After all these years, it’s kind of a passion,” she says.
Georgia is not the only one who has dedicated years of her life to the Greek restaurant. She also credits its success to the sacrifices of her husband, her two daughters and their in-laws. One of Georgia’s daughters, Alexandra Kuty, recalls spending the majority of her and her sister’s time growing up at the restaurant.
“It was all my sister and I knew,” says Kuty.
She adds that growing up in that environment taught her a lot about food, business and how to connect with her community. While Kuty now has a family of her own and doesn’t spend as much time at the restaurant, she says she still helps out sometimes and handles many of the social media and technological aspects of the business.
Even the menu at Georgia’s has an element of family history to it. Georgia says she kept her mother’s healthy traditional Greek cooking in mind when designing the food that would be served at her restaurant.
Furthermore, the fitness mindset of San Diego locals inspires Georgia to cook all of her meals with fresh ingredients, and to include many vegetarian options on her menu.
But Georgia is there for the community in more ways than just veggie options and home-made food. According to her, it’s the heart that she and her family put into personal connections with customers that keep them coming back.
As Georgia puts it, “most of the people you know in today’s world [are] really lonely,” so she does her part to ease some of those feelings of isolation. Staying involved with the community and showing everyone respect are highly important aspects of Georgia’s Greek Cuisine — standards that are made evident in the way Georgia, her family and the other employees connect and interact with their customers.
“We don’t make millions of dollars,” says Georgia, “but I feel in my heart I’m very satisfied.”
Georgia’s Greek Cuisine
Where: 3550 Rosecrans St.
Hours: Mondays to Saturdays 11 a.m.
to 9 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.