‘Thank you’: Theo & Stacy’s closing after 50 years

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A diner will shut the doorways of its first and solely remaining location in downtown Kalamazoo after 50 years of feeding households and serving smiles.

In 1973, Theo and Stacy Skartsiaris welcomed hungry prospects of their new house of Kalamazoo to their household restaurant to have a style of their native Greece.

“We began Greek evening in right here each Saturday evening. I used to prepare dinner it, go round to the tables, we used to say, ‘Specialty is the leg of lamb. Attempt it. you’ll prefer it,’” Stacy Skartsiaris stated. “Then we simply get used to the individuals liking the Greek meals. And naturally, it’s house cooking.”

Theo and Stacy’s in Kalamazoo on Jan. 26, 2023.

The household enterprise and its recipes ultimately grew to as many as 4 places all through the realm and cooked meals for Thanksgiving, Kalamazoo’s Greek Fest and even these and not using a house.

Precisely 50 years later, the ultimate restaurant with its vivid blue awning stands on Michigan Avenue. Stacy Skartsiaris, now 77, continues to be pouring her coronary heart into each dish.

“If the restaurant is open, I can not keep house. I’ve to work. I’m right here at 6 within the morning to shut, as a result of the whole lot — soups, Greek meals, gyro sauce, Greek recipes — the whole lot needs to be made by me,” she stated.

Theo and Stacy's in Kalamazoo on Jan. 26, 2023.
Theo and Stacy’s in Kalamazoo on Jan. 26, 2023.

Earlier this month, discussions along with her kids and grandchildren led to a bittersweet change of coronary heart and eventual announcement.

“‘I need you to return to our video games, to return to swim meets.’ I by no means make it to something … as a result of my plan for us is to remain right here till I die,” Skartsiaris stated. “(The household stated) we would like you to have the ability to get pleasure from it, no matter life I’ve left, and luxuriate in my grandkids and my household.”

Supervisor Danielle Miller began as a server eight years in the past, earlier than ultimately working alongside her personal son and daughter. Miller stated Stacy Skartsiaris grew to become household to her, along with her grandson calling her ‘yaya.’

“She genuinely cares about how we’re doing outdoors of right here,” Miller defined. “She by no means handled me like I used to be any lower than her or anyone else right here. I actually lived in The Mission and was carrying my garments in a backpack, however she by no means made me really feel I used to be any much less of an individual. She stated, ‘Everyone, generally, has a tough time of their life they usually want just a little little bit of assist.’ Stacy and (her daughter) Betty have been my household greater than my very own organic household has.”

Theo and Stacy's in Kalamazoo on Jan. 26, 2023.
Theo and Stacy’s in Kalamazoo on Jan. 26, 2023.

Till they shut their doorways for the final time, the Skartsiaris household is asking prospects to jot down their fondest recollections of the diner in a e book.

“My household would take me to Theo & Stacy’s after church rising up, so I used to be going there on and off my whole life. I all the time had quite a lot of respect for it. I all the time actually beloved the meals. I’ve quite a lot of fond recollections,” buyer Andy Lucas stated. “I simply respect what this place has completed for the group for the final 50 years. I’m actually unhappy to see it go, however I perceive that some issues come to an finish and I simply respect it for being right here when it was.”

“I feel it’s simply an intimate expertise coming right here,” buyer Hollie Lass added. “We come right here, it’s all the time particular, like a spot… Everybody that works right here is all the time great.”

Theo and Stacy's in Kalamazoo on Jan. 26, 2023.
The reminiscence e book at Theo and Stacy’s.

Skartsiaris and her workers say they’ve been seeing acquainted faces for one final go to.

“There’s a household that lives in Indiana they usually drove right here as a result of they heard concerning the information. They haven’t lived right here in 15 years,” Miller stated. “(Skartsiaris) remembered them, remembered what they ordered and remembered the place they labored. It’s wonderful to me.”

“When (a younger man) discovered we had been closing from Arizona, he flew again,” Skartsiaris added. “As a result of he used to do his homework daily on the final sales space for 3 to 4 hours whereas going to Western (Michigan College).”

Sunday’s farewell will shut 5 storied a long time of an prolonged household feeding a whole bunch of hundreds of others from Greece to the Nice Lakes.

“It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful,” Skartsiaris stated. “Thanks a lot (to) the individuals of Kalamazoo. I didn’t anticipate it.”

Employees confirmed that Berries Well-known Pancake Home and Extra would be the future tenant of the area on Michigan Avenue. Skartsiaris added that its supervisor is planning to supply gyros, impressed by her. The restaurant is predicted to open as quickly as mid-February.