The Theodosakis family stands with Theo’s Restaurant’s new owner, Greg Condonopoulos (far right).

Theo Theodosakis may have sold his restaurant, but it’s still home for him and his family.

Theo passed over the keys to Theo’s Restaurant on July 1 to former restaurant manager and family friend Gregory Condonopoulos.

“After all these years, it was hard (to sell), but Greg has worked here before. I know he’s capable to do the job, and we felt comfortable with that,” said Theo.

The restaurant remains the same: wood and tile floor, large fig trees and family tapestries fill the welcoming space Theodosakis and his wife, Mary, worked to create.

“It was a house when I bought it,” explained Theodosakis. “I started building in 1975.”

The food, which comes from a menu designed by the Theodosakis family and pays homage to their native Greece, will be as delicious as always.

“My parents owned a restaurant in (Greece),” said Mary. “I was born on top of that restaurant, I grew up with food, I was surrounded by food. I had my mother, aunties and grandmothers – we had wonderful food. You can follow recipes, but you’ve got to taste what you’re making.”

Condonopoulos first joined the Theo’s team in 1992, managing the restaurant for three years before moving to the Lower Mainland and building a career in the hospitality industry.

He managed Coast Hotels and the Marriott, before taking a vice president role for a hospitality company.

He later moved on to open several of his own restaurants, including a Brown’s Social House.

“This is a legacy business,” said Condonopoulos. “You can’t just sell it to anyone. I’ve worked here before. I’m Greek and I understand the culture, the food, the recipes and how the restaurant was run before and now. Theo and I understand each other. I am so honoured to be here and honour the family.”

He remembers the moment he was offered the restaurant by the family, saying he was in Mexico with a margarita in hand when the email came in from Theodosaki’s son, Nikos.

“The email said something like, “Greg, hi, how are you? We’d rather sell the restaurant 100%. Do you want to buy it?” I put my margarita down, picked up my phone and typed in, ‘Y-E-S.’”

It was a conversation, Condonopoulos said, that started several years beforehand.

Condonopoulos will be bringing back belly-dancing and traditional Greek dancing, a Theo’s tradition he remembers from over 20 years ago.