83-Year old Legacy
Written by Traci Overstreet of the Grand Island Independent with photos by John Brooks
A 5-cent coney dog and 35-cent pork chop was central to the menu back in 1933 when George Katrouzos Sr. bought the Coney Island lunch room for $600.
“He put $100 down,” said grandson George Katrouzos, who is the current proprietor of the downtown Grand Island restaurant.
George Sr. was a Greek immigrant living in east Chicago when his wife died, leaving him with three youngsters.
He put the kids in an orphanage, followed the advice of a friend and moved to Grand Island, where he bought the lunch room that had been started in 1923.
About six months later, when he had settled into the business, he went back to Chicago, got the kids, and moved them to Grand Island, where he raised them himself.
Although the family was Greek, they never served Greek food in the restaurant. Instead, they stuck with traditional American food and George Sr.’s special chili.
Gus recalled lots of raw garlic. He told stories of sitting in the restaurant’s booths listening to the radio, talking with friends and peeling garlic.
He toned the garlic down a bit in the mid-60s when he softened the recipe.