A sign of life
The community in Russell is wondering about the future of former local hangout, George’s. Former owner Angelo Kiriakakis is looking to get back into the restaurant game but it won’t be at the old location. Van Dusen photo

RUSSELL – Angelo Kiriakakis wants to get back into the restaurant business and he’d prefer to do it in Russell Village. One thing for sure: Angelo won’t be back in his old location on Concession Street.

He’s looking around and even enquired about the vacant former Foodland store on Craig Street. So far, he hasn’t heard back from company officials: “It could be converted into a nice restaurant. It’s a good size with lots of parking. There’s still some juice in me yet and I like the business.” 

Another possibility is a spot in a mini mall at the front of Melanie Construction’s Sunset Flats housing development on the north edge of the village. So far, though, the mall is only a rumour.  

For 12 years, Angelo and wife Donna built a reputation for themselves and their establishment on Concession even though it never carried their name. The green signs on the front of the building always read “George’s”, a reference to owner George Gifteas who spent most of his time in recent years back in his Greek homeland; Angelo rented the space.

Knowing that Angelo was the man at the grill – Donna was at the cash – and despite the signage, regular customers quickly began referring to the restaurant as “Angelo’s”. The couple built a solid clientele of regulars.  

In November of 2017, George died of leukemia in Greece. Around the same time, there was a fire in the rental accommodations on the second floor… nothing to do with the restaurant. The building has remained closed ever since and Angelo confirmed it’s not about to reopen any time soon… if at all.

There are issues around insurance, structural integrity, and ownership with Gifteas on file as sole owner. Angelo noted that, the longer the building remains closed, the more it’s likely to deteriorate.

Across Concession from George’s is The Barber Shop where owner Ronda says most of the chat in the chair lately is about the future of George’s: “People want it to reopen. They miss it.”