Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, March 15, 2021

It won’t happen overnight, but it looks like a ethnic stereotype is fading away as fewer Greek-Americans are staying in the restaurant diner business, the result of a generational shift.

But [Nick] Karkambasis, who is also a director of a New York purchasing co-op of 437 diners, estimates that the proportion of Greek-owned diners in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region has declined in 10 years to 70 percent from 90 percent.

“To tell you the truth, the parents don’t want their children to go into the business,” Mr. Karkambasis said. “It’s a lot of hours, and most of us don’t want our children going through what we went through growing up.”…

A sharper decline is looming, said Bill Kapas, one of the largest diner brokers, as the generation of Greek immigrants that founded more than 600 diners in the New York region retires. Mr. Kapas, 38, is the son of a Greek immigrant.

I’m Greek, so naturally the restaurant business is woven throughout my family quilt. I was never encouraged to go into the business myself, and neither were my brother nor my cousins. It was definitely seen as a lucrative way to make money, but not as a legacy to hand down. There was a sense of setting up the next generation for white-collar pursuits. (That’s not to say that no one follows in the footsteps, and in fact, there’s a dispute in my more immediate family over a succession plan for a years-old diner business.)

I guess the biggest loss here will be the eventual disappearance of those iconic “anthora” Greek-lettering blue coffee cups.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/15/2008 05:36:40 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society
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