Tony and Vivian Stergiou had owned property in Fairmont for about 25 years, but it was only nine years ago the longtime restaurateurs decided to make use of their spot on Hot Springs Road as a seasonal “semi-retirement” project.
In that time, their restaurant has become a valley favourite, known for its tangy tzatziki, succulent souvlaki and other Greek and western delights.
Besides main course fare, the grill also offers a full juice bar, hard ice cream and home-made baklava (“It’s a 5,000 year old recipe, and my wife perfected it,” Tony says).
Though they winter in Victoria, the Stergious make the trek to the valley every summer to staff the grill from mid- or late April to September.
Tony — who owned steak houses and pizzerias across the country and once ran “the busiest chocolate ice cream shop in Western Canada” — jokes his semi-retirment has been far busier than his working life.
“It seems we’re doing something good,” he says. “The people, they love our food and they keep coming back, and we love that.”
They’ve come back so often, in fact, that Tony’s Greek Grill expanded last year, adding more indoor seating in addition to the picnic tables waiting outside.
“The secret is hard work and passion for the food,” Tony says of the spot’s success.
“And we use good ingredients — that’s not a secret.”