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Rosewood Family Restaurant

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on October 24, 2012 with No Comments

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Rosewood's Kathy Mamounas and Marko & Maggie Karakozis

Locally owned and family operated with consistency and quality of service

In this age of multinational restaurants inundating us all with brand-name functionality, it is refreshing to find the one-of-a-kind spots that make a town unique.

So it is in Portage with the family-run Rosewood Family Restaurants, a staple of their communities for more than three decades.

It all began in 1975 when Pete Mamounas came to America from Greece.

Mamounas started out working in the steel mills but felt that there wasn’t a future there so he decided to open a restaurant. He took out a $10,000 loan and opened the first Rosewood Family Restaurant in Portage with his brother-in-law, Marko as the cook. This location remains the anchor.

According to his son, George, Rosewood opened a second location in South Haven in 1982. George operates the South Haven location with his aunt, Patty Karakozis.

Marko and Maggie Karakozis run the Portage site now. Marko is Pete Mamounas’ brother-in-law. Kathy Mamounas works there still, as the greeter and Marko does all the cooking.

“He makes it all from scratch,” said Maggie. “The sauces, the soups, the gravy, the biscuits for the biscuits and gravy in the morning. Nothing comes from a can.”

“Every day,” said Marko.

He came to the business after nine years in construction. “My brother-in-law asked if I would like to get in the restaurant business with him,” said Marko. “We opened Sept. 25, 1975.”

He has done three renovations, adding more seating in 1978 and then again in 1981 and 1993.

“The restaurant burned down in 1992, totally to the ground,” said Maggie. “So we reopened in 1993.”

And they have been going strong since. It is the kind of place that attracts regular customers, from morning coffee groups to families through generations.  You can come and be assured this is not franchise food. And there will be no surprises as far as a change in menu.

“The morning groups tend to stay with us,” said Maggie. “We have a group of steel mill guys who come in once a month. They have their coffee, they stay to chit-chat.”

“We have lots of regulars,” said Marko. “I love my customers and the support of the community

“I love my work,” said Marko. “We tell our kids, get good grades, go to college and then find something you love to do because you will be doing it for awhile.”

His employees tend to stick around as well. Maggie says they have a cook who has worked for them for 25 years and a waitress who has been there that long, too.

Diehard Cubs fans – Marko’s favorite player is Ryne Sandberg — the Karakozis appreciate the Region and the fact they have been able to keep a family business in operation.

“We’re here every day,” said Maggie. “We are part of this community to stay.”

In 1981 when they expanded to South Haven, it was with Marko’s brother, George, and still run by other family members.

Throughout the years, despite all the changes in the service industry, Rosewood has kept its quality consistent, its menu diverse and its service superb.

“It’s competitive, trying to keep up with the franchises, chains and large corporations,” said George. “We try to concentrate on our motto, ‘Something for the whole family.’ We cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, oriental, Greek, Mexican, seafood, steaks. Our soups are made from scratch every day. We try to stay competitive with price, preparation and presentation. We’re very family-oriented.”

Breakfast is served all day, every day.  A favorite is the biscuits and gravy. The Greek and Mexican skillets are popular as well. As the day goes on, homemade soups compliment freshly prepared steaks, gyros and crisp salads, just to name several of the dozens of menu items to choose from. Rosewood truly has something to offer everyone.

“We’ve tried to keep the quality of our food the same over the years. We still concentrate on the family atmosphere. Since we started we haven’t changed too much. We try to keep up to date with the food trends. Often when you consider a franchise, most of the food is prepared, then heated up and served, whereas at Rosewood the food is prepared on the spot for the customer,” said George.

“Since we first opened, everyone has put in hard work and dedication. As a manager, you have to trust the people who are working for you to make the right decisions, treat the customers fairly and serve quality food. You need to be on top of things. We always try to be different. Often when you come to Rosewood, the owner is present, welcoming the customers, making them feel special.”

As a local, family-run, family-oriented establishment, Rosewood is always looking to improve its food and service. George wants people to know that, “we’re here for the customer.” The Rosewood management and staff are open for any suggestions or thoughts customers may have at either location.

Rosewood’s locations and hours of operation: The Portage location’s address is 2606 Portage Mall, off Central Avenue. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The South Haven location’s address is 367 W. U.S. Highway 6 and is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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Writers Nicholas Serrano and Mike Siroky contributed to this story

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