Community rallies to support beloved Kelowna Greek restaurant destroyed by fire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Community rallies to support beloved Kelowna Greek restaurant destroyed by fire

Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna was badly damaged by fire Oct. 6, 2020.
October 11, 2020 - 8:28 AM

The owners of a longtime Kelowna Greek staple are adjusting to free weekends after their restaurant burned down last week.

Chris Koutsantonis is the co-owner of Olympia Greek Taverna, which has made its home on Highway 33 in Rutland for nearly 50 years. It opened in 1968 and basically only had pizza and pasta at that time.

With the help of mother Meli Koutsantonis, the menu gradually changed to feature more Greek items and in 1996, the Rutland location was completely renovated.

READ MORE: Fire destroys Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna

Last week, on Oct. 6, firefighters battled a blaze late into the night and early morning which gutted the restaurant. The cause is still under investigation but is believed to have started at the back of the building, Koutsantonis said.

Koutsantonis, the kitchen manager and one of the chefs, said it’s unusual for him to not be working on a Saturday night.

“The people on Facebook have so supportive, there have been lots of good wishes for us to open soon. The community has been so supportive,” he said.

There’s been lots of encouragement to rebuild and positivity for the future he said.

“It’s also quite sad. It’s like a roller coaster of emotions. It’s quite the turmoil we’re going through right now, with all the memories inside that restaurant. From our kids growing up in the place, from our weddings being there, baptisms, everything. My dad’s last Christmas dinner we had there, there’s a lot of fond memories we’ve had in that restaurant.”

“It’s really tough on my mom too who has gone through nearly 50 years in that place every morning,” he said. Some employees have also been with the restaurant for more than 25 years.

He’s hopeful the restaurant will be up and running sooner than later but it’s currently in the hands of the insurance right now, he said.

First, a demolition will have to take place and plans are to still open in the same location, Koutsantonis said. 

He said messages have been sent as far as Calgary from Olympia Greek fans.

 


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