‘It means a lot’: Calgary family restaurant turns 50

Tops Pizza & Steakhouse on Fairmount Drive SE celebrates its 50th anniversary. Craig Momney / Global News

A well-known staple in Calgary’s south end is celebrating its golden anniversary. This year, Tops Pizza & Steakhouse on Fairmount Drive SE will mark it’s 50th year in the food service industry after opening its doors in 1972.

“It means a lot,” said longtime owner, George Tsoulamanis. “Fifty years is a long time to run a restaurant, you know.”

Tsoulamanis, who immigrated to Canada from Greece in the 1960s, started his life in Canada working at a restaurant in Toronto, Ont. Not long after, he packed his bags and headed out west.

“I started a business here (Calgary), for $3,000 — I opened a restaurant at that time,” said Tsoulamanis. “And then four years later, I changde the name of my location to Tops,” he added.

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While George is now retired, his son Peter Tsoulamanis says his father — who stops in every once in a while to check on things — remains the face of the business, as he tries to carry on the family restaurant’s Tops name.

“When I think about 50 years, 20 years for me has gone by so fast,” said Peter, who runs the restaurant with his wife.

“It’s an honour. It’s a blessing,” said Peter. “I couldn’t have done it without my team and a lot of the regulars that come in — they’ve supported us since day one.”

Antony Maksymik is a regular at Tops and has been coming through the restaurant’s doors for 42 years.

“I love it. I’m here basically every day, have a couple of drinks,” said Maksymik, crediting the staff for their hard work.

“It’s nice people, all workers very nice. Peter, the manager, totally awesome,” he said.

Other regulars in the restaurant on Saturday say there’s no better place to eat in Calgary.

“It’s just a wonderful family-owned place where you know people are going to keep coming back. It’s kinda like the place where you feel very comfortable and very welcome,” said customer Jean Walter.

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“It’s great that it’s in the neighbourhood and it’s easy to get to,” said Keith Lockwood. “The restaurant business is super tough, I understand that, and with the combination of great food and great staff they can go on for another fifty.”

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