Greek dishes. Political dinners. Networking. Saturday morning Southern breakfasts. Rep. Dimitri Polizos hopping from table to table, greeting all; it’s all ending with the closing of Mr. Gus’ Ristorante in east Montgomery. The 44-year-old operation will be no more.
The present and last location of Mr. Gus’ has been operating since 2008, when Montgomery County Commissioner Dimitri Polizos opened it. He was later elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2013. Polizos died in 2019 of a heart attack.
An earlier location of the restaurant had been started in 1979 by Gus Polizos, from which the name came.
Michael Passineau, the current operator, made this post on Facebook Monday afternoon:
It is with great sadness that we must announce that we are closing our doors. We have seen rising cost of food and labor, as well as the downturn in the economy affect the financial health of the restaurant.
We will miss all our loyal customers. Thank you for patronage and support over the years.
Michael and the staff of Mr. Gus’ Ristorante.
The slogan of the restaurant was “A taste of the Mediterranean.”
The restaurant had closed for a few months earlier this year when it could not pay its tax bill to the City of Montgomery.
When Dimitri Polizos was the owner, he had agreed with family friend Michael Passineau to transfer ownership to him. Polizos died two days before the transition date, but the estate later worked it out.
The initial debt on the restaurant was $10,000. Due to taxes and the COVID pandemic, the debt grew to $100,000.
A GoFundMe page earlier this year raised only $6,231 toward that debt and keeping the restaurant open.
The closing is the end of a long era in Montgomery. In 1955, Gus and Nick Polizos opened The Riviera, a predecessor to Mr. Gus’. They operated it for 24 years. Then, they bought the restaurant that became Mr. Gus’.
Gus Polizos worked 65 years in the restaurant business before he died in 2014 at 94.
No details on the closing date have been released at this time.
Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].
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