News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students

South Van’s family-run restaurants survive with personal touch

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Reported by Evan Hagedorn

Mitsy Tsoukas, owner of Neighbour’s Restaurant & Pizza House, mixes drinks at the bar. Photo by Evan Hagedorn

With family-run restaurants a signature of South Vancouver, many patrons and business owners alike are watching nervously as the personal touch is being lost in many surrounding areas.

Many owners of family restaurants in the area know their communities because they live close to their businesses and feel part of the neighbourhood.

Neighbour’s Restaurant & Pizza House owner, Mitsy Tsoukas, says her Victoria Drive location is a good spot for her business because it’s an area where she grew up and she’s seen the community become what it is today.

“It’s a neighbourhood we were in originally and it’s interesting to see how the neighbourhood has evolved over the years,” said Tsoukas, explaining that it went from a European community to a more multicultural neighbourhood.

Tsoukas attributes her restaurant’s success to her loyal customers.

“There’s a lot of change definitely as the years go on, a lot of other family businesses have closed down,” Tsoukas said. “We’re trying to hang on and serve the community the best we can and kind of keep it going.”

Ethel Garcia, co-owner of Roots Cafe, makes a fresh pot of coffee at her restaurant. Photo by Evan Hagedorn

Part of the community

Ethel Garcia, co-owner of Roots Cafe, a licensed eatery on Main Street and 49th Avenue, also lives in the neighbourhood. Located one block from Langara College, the café is an off-campus place where students meet for coffee and food.

“This is a good family community, so since we’ve grown up around here, we just want to give back to the community,” Garcia said.

Bernie Maroney, an instructor at Langara, often frequents the café.

“I like the atmosphere,” Maroney said. “You can just tell the way the service is, it’s personal service, they care what you think of them, they care what you think of their food, they encourage feedback.”

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