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You Come Here, You’re like Family – Georges Gyros, Family business teaches owner value of hard work, caring for community

Written by Contributor. Posted in Business, Dining & Entertainment, Entertainment, Featured

Published on March 23, 2016 with No Comments

By Steve Euvino

Pictured is Maddie (Madelyn) Kerriman, Paul Pallas (owner), and Lupe Brueckheimer

When you dine at The Original George’s Gyros Spot in Chesterton, you’ll not only dine in comfort, but you’ll be surrounded by contemporary images. These include watching the news on big-screen, overhead televisions and digital messages on the customer side of cash registers.

That combination of old and new can be traced to its owner, Paul Pallas, who learned about hard work and caring for the community as a young man working at what was then a small hot dog stand and is now a restaurant with expanded seating.

As a 19-year-old college student, Pallas was suffering from a combination of bad grades and lack of drive. At the same time, his parents found a Chesterton restaurant they wanted to buy. Their son, however, wanted nothing to do with the diner, feeling he was above being a cook. His father reminded the lad that without education, his job options were limited.

So Pallas dropped out of school and began working at the George’s Gyros Spot stand his parents purchased in 1998. That experience taught Pallas about the real world. He decided to return to college, earning a degree in finance.

After graduation, Pallas had two options: staying home and taking over the family business or pursuing other opportunities in the corporate world. The young man made his decision.

“In the end, I decided the friends I had met while working at the little hot dog stand were better than any of the relationships I could have gotten anywhere else,” Pallas said.

After a few years, the family had outgrown the little yellow stand and wanted something bigger. Original plans included a drive-through window and a larger dining area.

“After a few months of planning, we ended up tearing down the old location and building a new restaurant next door that is four times bigger, with room for over 100 people,” Pallas said.

With seating for 118 patrons, The Original George’s Gyros Spot covers 3,800 square feet, with space for dining outdoors. Pallas’ family moved into the enlarged facility on Nov. 13, 2006.

“This is a family-owned business,” Pallas explained. “You come here, you’re like family.”

That family image extends to the restaurant walls, where local artist Pete Cortese has painted images of Pallas’ nieces and nephews enjoying hot dogs, burgers, and ice cream.

“We love being part of the community,” Pallas said. “The people who work here are part of the community.”

From Little League to the Duneland YMCA to the Chesterton Fire Department, the restaurant does what it can to help those in need.

The little yellow hot dog stand is now gone, though its image graces the home page of the restaurant’s website. On the website is the regular dining menu, along with the restaurant’s catering menu.

For dining in or take-outs, the menu features Chicago hot dogs, Polish sausage, Italian beef, gyros, burgers, soups, salads, special meal baskets, ocean perch, shrimp, Buffalo wings, and a variety of wraps. Daily specials are also posted online.

Wi-Fi is also available for customers.

Then comes the catering menu, which the restaurant can personalize for various special occasions: anniversaries, showers, birthdays, sporting events, golf outings, and weekend get-togethers.

George’s’ catering menu includes appetizers, side dishes, salads, buffet style, entrees, party trays, and desserts. On the menu are fried chicken, Italian beef, Italian sausage or meatballs, Polish sausage with sauerkraut, and mostaccioli.

Pallas labels this an “all-American” menu for catering. “Somebody will like something on this menu.”

Catering also comes with full heating kits, reusable chafing racks, serving utensils for salads, single-use Sterno warming burners, and tableware.

Those times change, commitment to one’s community remains constant, Pallas noted.

“I have evolved over the years, as just a kid working at a hot dog stand to someone who truly enjoys what he does for a living,” he said, “and cares for the community and the people in it.”

George’s Gyros Spot is located at 325 N. Calumet Road, Chesterton from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Carry-outs, catering, and gift cards are available. Allow 48 hours for all catering orders.

For more information call 219- 926-5435 or, visit www.georgesgyrosspot.com.

 

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