The namesake of the Calgary staple Nick’s Steakhouse & Pizza passed away Sunday at 87 years old after a brief stay in hospice care.
“My dad… he had no regrets at the end,” Mark Petros shared on Monday. “He said: ‘I’ve done everything I can, you know, I’ve led a great life.’ So that gives me a huge amount of comfort.”
While Nick’s table sits empty, the laughter and stories still flow like Nick never left at all.
“He always sat at the round table up front there,” Mark recalled. “So he could be sitting there to greet all the customers.”
He left the village of Kardiakafti, Greece, as a teenager to build a new life in Calgary, working in restaurants while learning English and building relationships that would one day lead to him opening his namesake business on Crowchild Trail in 1979.
“We opened March 12. My birthday is March 13, so I turned 15 the next day and the whole family forgot my birthday because we were so excited about opening the restaurant,” Mark recalled. “But it was okay because it was beyond my dad’s wildest dreams.”
Of course, you can’t talk about Nick Petros without talking football.
He became infatuated with the game after arriving in Calgary in 1954.
His son, Tim, would go on to play for the family’s beloved Stampeders, while Mark suited up for the University of Calgary Dinos.
The family became well-known for hosting the Stampeders for pre-game meals, and on more than one occasion, the Grey Cup.
Mark says he’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and knows exactly how his dad would like to be honoured.
“My dad loved people to have great food and fine wine and have a celebration,” he said.
“Come in for a good meal or cook a good meal at home or wherever, have a nice glass of red wine and toast to my father. With all the attention that’s happening right now, he would love it if he would have been alive.
“It’s too bad. I wanted him to be alive to see all this, but hopefully, he’s seeing it somewhere.”