Previous owner thanks BSU students for patronage

Vasilakis sold restaurant to slow down, focus on other business, Family Table.

Nick Vasilakis, former owner of the Family Kitchen restaurant,1617 N. Wheeling Ave., strongly expresses his gratitude to Ball State students for providing him with steady business and fond memories during the more than eight he was in business.

The Family Kitchen officially opened on Aug. 25, 1993 and was sold on Nov. 30, 2001.

"I love and respect the kids," Vasilakis said. "They are like family to me. I hope that my restaurant provided a family atmosphere for those in need of a home away from home."

He said the Family Kitchen was a reliable place for students to get affordable home-style food 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because the restaurant was really geared toward student business.

Vasilakis decided to sell the restaurant mainly because of small but steady business losses caused by daytime competition from other restaurants and fast-food chains near his location. He said other late-night diners such as the Sunshine Cafe, 3113 N. Oakwood Ave., were not much competition on their own.

"I never made much profit, but that is not why I do this," he said. "I get my pride from making people happy."

Vasilakis also said he felt exhausted from pouring his efforts into the Family Kitchen, and wanted to slow down in order to help his business partner run their other restaurant, the Family Table, 2996 W. Park St., in Huntington.

"I remember the first year the Family Kitchen opened," he said. "On Christmas day, people were in line outside all day in the snow. Some news people even showed up."

Vasilakis tried to sell the Family Kitchen for one year before actually closing the deal. He had approximately four offers from various entrepreneurs, yet settled with the current owner, Chris Kotsiovos.

The sale was final when Kotsiovos told Vasilakis that he would drastically renovate and remodel most or all of the building's older structures and surfaces.

Cleanliness is often a topic raised by students when discussing the Family Kitchen. Vasilakis addresses these concerns by assuring students the restaurant was always clean and up to health standards, but did not always look clean because of the old building's appearance.

"I'm kind of used to eating in diners that are like truck stops," said junior Matt Stevens. "It was never spotless, but I was never afraid to eat there."

Vasilakis, who has been in the restaurant business for 26 years, has owned a total of three restaurants to date. He does not have any plans to open an entirely new restaurant, but said he is open to the idea if an opportunity comes along at the right time.

Vasilakis wants to extend his best wishes to the new owner as well.

"I wish him success in his business," he said. "I have to think, however, that his decision to not stay open 24 hours every day and to have higher prices will hurt his business from students."


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