Grove City Record

George's finds new home

Gathering place for coney fans back on map

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MARK DUBOVEC/THISWEEKNEWS
(Front row, from left) "Buckeye Sue" Chaffin, Nick Mavromatis, (back row) Dawn Mavromatis, Michelle Heimberger, Valerie Tanner and Ken Kautz

It's been a long time coming, but George's coneys have arrived in Grove City.

Mike and Dawn Mavromatis, owners of the famed but now-closed George's All-American Grille on the West Side, originally planned to open a spin-off place on Broadway about 14 years ago.

"Then the deal went south," said Mike Mavromatis. "That was a huge disappointment (but) we decided to wait and keep watching."

Now, they have opened George's Coneys & Gyros at 2396 Old Stringtown Road. It officially opened on April 15, only a few months after George's closed on Georgesville Road after more than 60 years on the West Side.

"We'll be reunited with our George's family," Dawn Mavromatis said. "They're our extended family. You have families who grew up there bring their kids in. "

Family is also behind the counter, including Mike's father, Nick Mavromatis, and Dawn's mother, "Buckeye Sue" Chaffin.

The new restaurant will combine American and Greek food, Mike Mavromatis said.

"We're going to add a twist to the American side," he said. "George's is going to learn new things ... (and) we want to explode with freshness."

Customers can expect the old grill favorites, including coneys and other variations of hot dogs, that keep the greasy spoon feel, but some new items will be health-minded.

"We're going to new things for the newest generation," Dawn Mavromatis said. "We're still going to offer what we're known for."

There will be deli sandwiches, pocket sandwiches, hummus, spreads, salads, soups and dips. On the Greek side, the menu will include a selection of gyros and souvlaki.

"We're going to offer lamb, pork and chicken," Mike Mavromatis said. "We don't want any frozen meats. ... If you don't skimp on the meat and you don't skimp on the sauce, you're going to put out a nice product."

The menu remains a work in progress.

"You start with the things that brought you, but change according to the customers and innovate," said Nick Mavromatis, the former business owner, who at age 91 still works at George's.

"He's the icon of George's," Dawn Mavromatis said of her father-in-law. "We need him."

Nick Mavromatis, who served in the Greek Navy during World War II, arrived in the United States in 1945, came to Columbus in 1952 and started working for the original owner of George's in the 1960s. The original George's opened in 1948.

"I was the manager, working and running the place at the same time," he said. "I went in there with the idea to buy them out."

Nick Mavromatis bought George's in 1972. He officially retired 25 years ago, but he never stopped working. The longest period of time he's ever gone without working was between the time George's closed on the West Side and opened in Grove City.

"They're going to let me work," he said. "I'm the Greek god."

In addition to the traditional coneys, George's will continue its car shows and will host other outdoor events, including Greek Night under the stars.

Dawn Mavromatis said she's grateful for people's patience as the restaurant took longer to open than planned.

"It's very bittersweet not having a place on the West Side, but still being able to do something we've always wanted to do --have a small place in Grove City." Mike Mavromatis said.

George's Coneys & Gyros is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 614-539-4976.

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