Traditionally, the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is a time for giving thanks, reflection and celebration. As we reflect on the events of this past year, it is difficult to do so without reflecting on this entire decade, as it comes to a close in just a matter of days. We are thankful and grateful to each and everyone of you who long before we even opened Hellenic Kouzina, you embraced our vision, supported our family and encouraged us to look past all the pundits and naysayers who didn’t believe there was a place for Greek food beyond a church festival in Central Pennsylvania.
Not only was there room, from the first weeks of opening, you made it loud and clear that the little cafe we built was nowhere near large enough to meet the demand! That demand forced us by the end of our first year in business to begin construction on an addition. Thank you!
In an effort to be a family outside of work, you supported us being closed Sundays and Mondays, our week long breaks that included Greek Orthodox Christian holidays in addition to the customary holidays of the west, as well as time off to enjoy summer! Time off like this in the restaurant business is unheard of! Thank you so much!
You looked past all of the growing pains and helped us rise to the top of the Central Pennsylvania dining scene, as demonstrated by the crowds and numerous yearly local and state awards including several consecutive ‘Central Pa Simply the Best” and even an international “best of” award earlier this year by Lux Life Magazine, all the way from England and Wales!
Hellenic Kouzina quickly became a real special place. We hosted a wedding ceremony and reception, numerous engagement parties, bridal showers and several marriage proposals! All very special and memorable moments. You shared your families with us, growing together with us… all the joys and the laughter, but also many sad occasions as loved ones reposed and we hosted their wakes.
The most humbling, was from a guest who, unbeknownst to us, left a directive with her family to have her wake at Hellenic Kouzina. They all arrived after the funeral unannounced and shared with us that this was her wish. We remain extremely touched by her expression of love. She enjoyed many visits with her family and wanted one more visit in remembrance of her.
Reflecting on the last 10 years, many days seemed long, but the years were extremely short! The first 6 of our children are already 10 years older and most of you have watched them grow and have contributed tremendously to their personal growth by loving, supporting and encouraging them. Your support helped reinforce a whole host of character building experiences. Thank you.
Thank you for letting your children work with us and all that they did to catapult us to the top, they are the names and faces of our business. Thank you to all of our former staff, and current staff we left behind, you remain a great source of pride for us! We love so much that many of them chose Hellenic Kouzina as their first work experience and remained with us throughout all of high school, many of them returning for work during their breaks from college.
Finally, thank you to the local credit union who rescinded their loan commitment shortly before settlement. After visiting the site one more time, you suggested we couldn’t do anything with the building. As difficult as that was, it confirms that the more pain you have to endure on your journey, the sweeter the arrival at your destination. People’s Bank stepped in and we did something with the building after-all!
We are thankful for all of the experiences of the last ten years. They helped shape what Hellenic Kouzina became and hope will remain. As many can relate, life is full of detours! The older children who are now in their early 20’s and were a large part of the operation from their early tweens/teens, need to and want to forge their own paths. And with other matters of importance in our life as a family, we decided earlier this year it was time to sell the business, in an effort to refresh and focus our efforts on the many paths ahead of us. We did so just before we left for Greece this summer.
Some time ago, an effort to establish and build another Hellenic Kouzina manifested itself in Virginia. After countless trips to and from, we are finally at the tail end of the permitting process and hope to break ground later this winter or early spring. Please stay tuned for updates on that and more, this isn’t goodbye!
Many of you travel to and through Virginia and hope that you will visit with us there just as many have visited with us in Mechanicsburg, traveling to and through Pennsylvania!
We hope you continue to enjoy your visits to the Mechanicsburg location and wish the new operators well.
Merry Christmas! May God keep you all in good health and fill your hearts with love, joy and peace this holiday season and always!
Lambros, Elizabeth and family