Restaurant Profile: Discover a restaurant that’s all about family, from its name and its ownership to the flag flying outside, and find out how even the cuisine has family in mind.
Owner Harry Kulubis opened his family restaurant at 1470 S. Randall Road in Algonquin in late May 2011. In this case, “family” has a double meaning.
“My father owned a restaurant for 20 years, in the Irving Park area, 20 years ago,” says Kulubis. “He was also a contractor, painting bridges and ‘L’ tracks in Chicago and Indiana. He’s retired from that, so the restaurant is a way for him to return to his roots.”
Anastasia, Kulubis’ sister, also works in the restaurant, which is named for her 3-year-old daughter, Georgia.
“She’s the first grandchild in the family, which is a big thing,” says Kulubis. “She’s in school now, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but she’s here in the restaurant a lot on other days. She engages the customers, hands out menus. So we’re all co-owners, even Georgia. This is one big family restaurant.”
Cuisine is the second part of this “family” business. “Another reason we opened a restaurant is because we wanted to show Georgia how to eat well, how to have a diverse, healthy diet,” says Kulubis. “Any food we serve here, we would serve to Georgia.” Georgia’s is open for breakfast and lunch, and breakfast is served all day. Breakfast is the most popular meal, says Kulubis, and looking at the offerings, that’s not surprising.
Along with the standard ham and cheese, omelet fillings include choices like asparagus and Gruyère cheese, seafood, or chicken fajita. You can order Bananas Foster French toast, huevos rancheros, or Nutella and banana crepes (Kulubis’ personal favorite). “Our homemade crepe batter is amazing,” he says.
Georgia’s pancakes were voted best in McHenry County, by public poll, on McHenry County Patch websites. The buttermilk originals have a hint of vanilla, and flavor choices include pumpkin, chocolate chip and multigrain, among others. “But the customer favorite, overall, is our chocolate strawberry pancakes, served with chocolate syrup,” says Kulubis.
Lunch includes two soups, homemade daily; salads like Cobb, Greek, Mandarin chicken and avocado chicken; club sandwiches; melts; panini; and wraps, including chicken cranberry and blackjack steak. The menu also has a “healthy choices” section. The coffee is fresh-ground. The orange juice is fresh-squeezed, there’s a cranberry O.J. option, and wine and beer are available.
The dining area is open and roomy, with the two end walls consisting of all windows. The space is broken up with two wood-paneled half dividers that create a more private feel in the center. The décor is both contemporary and homey: hardwood floors, dark wood tables and booths, a mix of pendant and recessed lighting, drop ceilings, two big-screen televisions.
Kulubis was too young to learn the restaurant business at his father’s elbow, but he received his training on the job. “Greek-run restaurants are in abundance around the area, and we’re a pretty tight community,” he says. “I worked at several restaurants that were very similar to my father’s, and I learned a lot.”
Kulubis and sister Anastasia share manager duties; father Harry offers guidance and puts in hours at the restaurant whenever needed, especially on weekends.
“We want our customers to know that we’re a family business, and we care about providing good service,” says Kulubis. “We take pride in our food, and we love our jobs. People will see happy faces when they walk in the door.”
One absent member of the family is Kulubis’ older brother, Spiros, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. But he’s represented at Georgia’s, nonetheless. The American flag flying outside is one which the Navy pilot carried with him on a mission he flew over Iraq. Just to the left of the door, near the hostess station, is another flag from a mission flown over Afghanistan, displayed in a case with photos of Spiros and his crew members.
“We’re really proud of him, and we want him to know he’s in our thoughts every day,” says Kulubis. “He’s also a co-owner. It’s exciting to have a business together, and my dad loves seeing his family work together and stick together. Family is a very big deal for us.”
Georgia’s is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. ❚