On Thursday morning, a line of customers waited around the block outside Alexander’s in Petersburg to grab one last meal before the restaurant closes for good on Saturday.
Or whenever the food runs out.
So many people have showed up to say goodbye to owner Spiros Georgogianis; his wife, Lynn; and brother Vasili, known as Bill to many, that the restaurant may close earlier than planned.
“We have regular customers who come in four or five times a week,” Georgogianis said in between prepping for another busy day of service. “Everybody comes in to eat with me — it doesn’t matter who — politicians, judges, lawyers. Everybody who comes to Petersburg, they have to stop at Alexander’s.”
The tiny little restaurant at 101 W. Bank St. in Petersburg has been serving Greek, Italian and American cuisine for over 45 years.
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Georgogianis emigrated from Greece to the U.S. and started his restaurant in Petersburg, first as Piccolo’s, then as Alexander’s, named after his father, in 1977. He creates all of the dishes from scratch himself, such as veal parmigiana, Athenian-style chicken and fresh Greek dressing.
“If I don’t like it, I won’t serve it,” Georgogianis said.
“I have been going to Alexander’s for as long as I can remember,” said Kimberly Ann Calos, a longtime customer. “My family dined there several times a week when we lived in Hopewell. My staff and I eat there regularly, usually grabbing carry-out Greek salads with their signature Greek dressing, which is everyone in my circle’s absolute favorite.”
Calos was just one of many who showed up this week to enjoy one last meal at Alexander’s.
Many customers hugged and embraced Georgogianis and his wife, who met at the restaurant. Lynn began working at Alexander’s as a waitress 27 years ago as a single mom. She and Spiros fell in love and got married. The two have been working side by side at Alexander’s ever since.
“We just created a real family-friendly atmosphere,” Georgogianis said.
Georgogianis, Lynn and brother Bill regularly work 75 hours a week, doing everything from front of service to cooking in the kitchen.
“I’m so happy for them, they’ve earned it, but they will be greatly missed,” said Carolyn Bain of Dinwiddie. She’s been coming to Alexander’s for decades.
The restaurant has been so slammed in the past few days, ever since announcing its closure on Facebook, that Maegan McQuiggan, who is the daughter of a former waitress, was helping clear tables and wash dishes. Her mom had stopped by for lunch earlier in the week and saw that Lynn was swamped, doing everything herself, and called her daughter, who was in between jobs, to help out.
At 72, Georgogianis said it was time to retire.
“I will miss everything, especially the people,” he said. “A lot of friends who I’ve known since I’ve been here. I will miss the contact with them and seeing them every day.”
But he’s looking forward to traveling with Lynn and spending more time with his three grandchildren, especially JJ, his 13-year-old grandson whom he calls his “bright eye.”
He also plans to participate in festivals and pop-ups in the near future, selling Alexander’s fresh Greek dressings and desserts.
“I won’t go away. I’m not going to sit home, no, that’s for sure,” Georgogianis said.