A Family Legacy at Georges – Pete and Athina Mangouras

Georges1By Julie Metteer

Pete and Athina Mangouras

Athina – “Dad bought Georges in 1976, and we pretty much grew up here. The place started out as a donut shop called “The Hole in One”, then it was a short order restaurant, and then it was re-modeled into the restaurant.”

“In the early days of the restaurant, orders were shouted through the kitchen window – nothing was written down. ‘Give me a Cow and Cry on it’ meant a hamburger with onion, and ‘Adam and Eve on a Raft’ was 2 eggs on toast.”

“There was an outdoor alley behind where the bar is now, that ran from Kirkland Ave. all the way through to Park Lane… I used to roller skate through that alley on a regular basis, and loved to do gymnastics in the doorway that now leads to the new bar area in the restaurant.”

Pete – “I remember going around with my brother John after closing, and especially after private parties – lifting up the booths to find spare change. The next day we’d take our proceeds over to Ben Franklin and get all the candy we could.”

Athina – “And those rubber balls. Remember those little rubber balls? You used to roll and bounce them down the hallway all the time!”

Pete – “When I was a kid, the building on the corner wasn’t there, and I’d play on that dirt lot for hours. I’d take the strings from the old burlap sacks the potatoes would come in, and make my own fishing poles, and go ‘fishing’ in the dirt. It was practically my own self-run day care!”

Athina – “Oh yeah, the potato sacks. I remember all those potatoes. I think I’ve peeled a MILLION potatoes at Georges. You had to make your own hash browns and French fries. There weren’t any other options! I remember when I was in the Miss Kirkland Pageant, and my dad made me peel potatoes with my acrylic nails on. That didn’t make me happy.”

Pete – “I remember when it was still okay to feed the ducks at Marina Park. Dad would save all the heels of bread, and kids would come by to get a few slices for the ducks. Feeding the ducks was cool.”

Pete – “I also remember when the fire department and city hall was where Kirkland Square is now. I knew the fire chief and I got to go on a tour of one of the fire engines. There was also a guy named Gale down the street at the nursery who had a business fixing lawn mowers. I’d go down there and spend hours with him – he’d make up stuff for me to do, little stuff, but I always felt like it was important stuff. Loved that.”

Other random memories:

When the city used to truck in snow to the park, and all the kids in Kirkland would come down and play in it. The Flame Restaurant- loved the neon “flame” sign. Washington Federal looks EXACTLY the same as it did when we were kids. EXACTLY. The Happy Clam restaurant on the corner where Hallmark Realty is – Lenny Wilkins owned it. Everyone on the KPD (Kirkland Police Department) called their mom “Mom.” The Kirkland Avenue Pub used to be a Firestone store. The ceiling at Georges was all done with a paintbrush by hand – Pete was too small at the time, so he’d get lifted up so he could do some of the circle swirls too. (The ceiling is the same as it was), Hallmark Realty used to be next door. And the whole community always seemed to know what was going on in the Mangouras’s lives – WAY before the advent of Facebook! Remember George putting Athina’s kids on his shoulders and parading them around the restaurant declaring “Deese awr mye Grand-Daw-tars!” in his thick Grecian accent.

Athina – “I was only allowed to go to dances if my dates brought me to the restaurant beforehand. Dad (George) would always introduce himself to my dates while holding a great big Pizza knife. I was a senior in High School before I got to go to any other restaurant besides Georges before a dance!”

“I also remember Moss Bay days, when the REAL Hells Angels would come to town on their bikes. Mom would hide us in the back from the big scary guys on their bikes. I remember how loud they were.”

Pete – “I’ve pretty much worked here my entire life, with the exception of a couple of years when I did surveying for Jim Hart and Associates. When Dad had a stroke, I came back to work here and eventually teamed up with my best friend from High School Derek McKenzie to buy the place in May of 2007. We poured everything into the remodel in 2008, and it was really important to us that we did it with the old Georges in mind, and I think it turned out well. Some people asked why we didn’t get rid on the red booths in the front. …”

Athina “Well, you can’t get rid of the red booths because it’s just Georges, and you just CAN’T.”

Georges is located on Kirkland Ave. and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and happy hour.

Julie Metteer is a guest commentator for Kirkland Views and the author of Connected in Kirkland, a blog about the people in Kirkland. You can read more of Julie's work by visiting www.ConnectedinKirkland.com