Many people were introduced to the Savvidis family and on the Food Network’s . However, many locals have known about the restaurant for a lot longer.
Billy Savvidis bought the business in 1986 with his brother-in-law and when he and his wife, Georgia, were married in 1988, she began working for him part time.
In 2001, Billy bought out his partner, who wanted to go into another business. So while it’s been just Billy and Georgia since 2001, the former partners are still close.
“We’re still family, we still love each other to death,” Georgia said.
That’s not the only family connection in this restaurant. Currently, the Savvidis’ two oldest sons, who are 22 and 18, work at the restaurant. Their daughter, 19, is taking a break from the business, but has worked there before, and her mother says she will be back. Their 6-year-old son obviously does not work at the restaurant, but he helped out the family business by being a star in the new TV commercial.
“This has been a huge part of our lives,” Georgia said.
The family lives approximately a half hour away from the restaurant, but that hasn’t stopped them from being a part of the Ellington community.
“We feel like we know more people and are friends with more people in Ellington than we are in our hometown,” Georgia said.
They also are sponsoring a kids’ soccer camp, donating for the families that can’t afford to send their kids to camp. They also donate frequently to local fundraising events, and yearly to the Shriners Hospital for kids. Also, they recently donated to St Jude’s.
After the television debut, the restaurant has received some criticism, but Georgia is taking it in stride.”
“Critics, yeah, they’re going to come,” she said. We’re all human, we all make mistakes. Stuff happens. We wouldn’t be in business for 25 years if we were screwing up that much, if it was that bad. You’re never going to please 100 percent of the people.”
She said that people have perceptions of the restaurant that aren’t necessarily true.
“People walk in here now and expect Robert (Irvine) to be in the kitchen cooking for them,” Georgia said. “It’s not like that. He came, he did what he had to do, he left. He leaves and you have to figure it out yourself. If you’ve ever been through something where your life has just been turned upside down so crazy in 72 hours, it is what it is. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion.”
She continued, “People saw us on TV, we’re not movie stars. He left us with all these new things to do. He wanted us to have just that one menu, but we kept both menus for almost two weeks until we could figure it out. So until we figured it out, we still offered our old menu and our new menu. People think we’re making hand over fist, but we’re not. But it did help.”
Georgia did clear something up about an infamous scene in the show. Sauce had been left out overnight and the chef found it. That’s not how it happened. Georgia said that her son told them that they didn’t do it and that they had been talking about something else – not the sauce – and that it was edited that way.
“It was what it was,” she said. “It’s TV. When we went into this, we all talked about it, ‘They need a little drama here, they need something for good TV, you guys understand that.’”
Georgia says that a lot of people saw the show and have since come in for the first time, while there are others that have been coming for several years. She added that most of the feedback on the new menu has been positive.
Soon, there will be other new additions to the menu. Gluten free pasta and pizza will soon be offered.
Overall, the change has been good for everyone.
“I’m happier, and my employees are happier,” Georgia said.
If you missed the Restaurant: Impossible episode and would like to see it, check out the Food Network schedule for its next air date.
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