One of Lloydminster’s most notorious restaurants is celebrating being in the community for 50 years.
Spiro’s restaurant located at 1408 50 Avenue, has been in the Border City for the past half of a decade, facing its ups and downs along the way.
Spiro Kokonas and his well-recognized food made its first appearance in Lloydminster in 1970 at the Shell Ranchero Restaurant.
From that point, Spiro and his culinary talent would begin to build a reputation in the community for serving high-quality food, eventually becoming a household name to those who live in the City today.
“At that time, I would say it was the best place in town. There were hardly any other places. We started there and little by little, they got to know us. We stayed there for seven years and we were the first people to bring pizza into town,” said Spiro.
Spiro mentioned the challenges he faced with running a business during difficult times created uncertainty for the future of his life and business.
“We did our best, we really tried, and we had good business. The interest rate had killed us, and we lost our house, our building, our business, everything. I was at my lowest point and I had some crazy thoughts that there was no point in living.”
Spiro and his family would move locations and work in different settings around the City for a number of years, eventually settling 14 years ago on what would be its permanent location.
Earlier this year, many businesses including Spiro’s were forced to close their doors earlier this year because of the pandemic.
The family restaurant would survive the temporary stop in business and reopen their doors on June 23.
Maria Kokonas, Spiro’s daughter, recalled the first night the restaurant reopened, and how the environment inside had come to life when they were able to serve the community again.
“I just came and sat at the threshold of the dining room, and I just listened. I heard laughter, talking, the clinking of the plates, and it was medicine to my soul. I couldn’t imagine what it was like for my dad to not have that. It must’ve been very difficult,” she said.
Maria has been a part of Spiro’s for a majority of her life, jokingly claiming she was taken directly to the restaurant after her birth.
“There’s no denying the beat of an industry when it runs in your veins. Most little babies went home from the hospital to their cribs or their bassinets. I went to the Shell Ranchero, and that’s where I grew up.”
Maria stated the family-run restaurant is commemorating the occasion with special events at their location throughout the entire week.
“Fifty years is huge. We’ve got some great things happening this week and we hope that everyone can take part in it in some way, shape or form,” said Maria.
Spiro’s will be hosting an event at their restaurant every night, including a competition where people can try to create their own secret sauce as similar to the restaurant’s signature item.
Watch the full interview with Spiro and Maria Kokonas above.