Fresh food, family feel keep Northbrook restaurant thriving
George and Maria Vlahakis say they serve about 3,000 customers per week in their Northbrook restaurant, Georgie V's. |Jackie Polossoph Heppner~For Sun-Times Media
1139 Church Street, Northbrook
Updated: December 18, 2012 2:42PM
NORTHBROOK — George Vlahakis and his wife, Maria, feed about 3,000 people every week in their Northbrook restaurant, Georgie V’s.
Vlahakis attributes the success of his business to a law he said he lives by.
“If I wouldn’t eat it, it’s not good for my customers. All the food has to be fresh every single day.”
Born in Greece in 1946, Vlahakis grew up in the restaurant business, as his dad owned a coffee shop. When he was 19, he moved to Canada, where he worked as a dish washer in different restaurants. He said he learned how to cook by watching the chefs.
Vlahakis came to Chicago a few years later, where he landed a job as a chef at a high-priced private dining club on Michigan Avenue. A few years after that, he opened up his own place, George’s Starlight, a diner that served breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“I literally had to crack open my piggy bank and use the last of all the money I had saved to open my first restaurant,” Vlahakis said.
After buying and selling a few other restaurants, including Mrs. V’s which is still open in Des Plaines, Vlahakis opened Georgie V’s in 1997.
“Every time I opened a business, I took a place that was run down or closed and I turned it around,” said Vlahakis, “Including Georgie V’s. That’s my specialty.”
And speaking of specialties, Georgie V’s is known for several different omelettes, including Eileen’s Omelette, an egg white omelette that was created by a long-time customer.
Georgie V’s, which is open for breakfast and lunch only, also offers eggs, skillets, pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes, and several side dishes, including sausage, bacon and hash browns. In addition, the restaurant serves salads, wraps, burgers, sandwiches and paninis.
Kathryn Eisen of Northbrook eats at Georgie V’s at least twice a week, and said the family likes the feel of the restaurant and the food keeps her coming back.
“Everything is fresh, delicious, and they have good portions, and good service,” said Eisen, “And George is a great host.”
“There is such a sense of community here,” said Suzy White, who is a frequent customer, “Today I got pancakes, which I never do, but everything I’ve gotten here has always been so good.”
Sharon Howard is a server who has worked for George in his different restaurants since she was 17 years old.
“George knew my husband before I did,” she said, “Every time I was looking for work, I always came to George because his food is great, his place is the cleanest, his food is the freshest and he serves you like you’re coming to his house.”
“This place is like a family,” said Vlahakis, who lives in Glenview, “I love food and I love people, especially kids. There’s nothing better than when a kid comes in and says, ‘Hi George!’”
George and his wife, Maria have two grown children, Peter and Teddy, both who work at Georgie V’s, and at Vlahakis’s other restaurant, Greek Feast, a Greek restaurant that opened three years ago.
“No one can make an omelette like my son,” said Vlahakis, “And he taught the chef how to make it.”
“They have the best omelettes in the city,” said Adam Kooperman of Deerfield, “They’re big, fluffy and light. My sister comes here five days a week.”