The Flamingo Grille, “ Harrisburg’s favorite breakfast and lunch spot, ” closes

One of the iconic restaurants in the city of Harrisburg has closed due to a decline in activity related to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of October, the Flamingo Grille at 317 Market St. served his last special breakfasts, cheeseburgers and rice pudding.

“It took a toll on me not only financially, but also emotionally. It was stressful not knowing, not knowing what was going to happen next, ”said owner Athena Dimitrakopoulos.

She waited until this weekend to make the news public. A sign is posted at the restaurant and a photo of the sign posted on the Flamingo Grille Facebook page.

“It was with a heavy heart and many tears that The Flamingo Grille was forced to close,” the post read. “All of our loyal friends and customers who were like ‘family’ will be missed. Thank you for all your support and patronage for almost 40 years. Thank you, COVID-19. “

Over the years, the restaurant with its meal counter seats, orange stalls, and unsophisticated atmosphere has served breakfast and lunch to generations of people. It was called “Harrisburg’s favorite breakfast and lunch spot.”

Some have described the Flamingo Grill as “no frills” and “a little gem”. “They are friendly and quick to serve. The food is good, the coffee is strong … the prices are low. This is the real deal! wrote a review on Yelp.

For Dimitrakopoulos, the decision to close was emotional. His father, Nikolaos T. Kalathas, operated the restaurant until his retirement about 15 years ago. He had bought it in 1983 from brothers Michael and Constantinos Dimopoulos.

In May, Kalathas, 89, died after Dimitrakopoulos said he tested positive for COVID-19. She said that after her father passed away, it became more and more difficult to work in the restaurant.

“My dad, he loved it. He was a human person. He used to go there early and early at 4 am, ”she said, adding that he had a heart of gold and gave food to people who didn’t. did not have enough money.

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The decision to close was made worse by a drop in business due to the coronavirus pandemic. State and city workers made up the majority of the Flamingo Grille’s clientele. In March, the Flamingo Grille closed for the state shutdown and then reopened for take out.

But Dimitrakopoulos said business has never rebounded.

“Things really started to go wrong once all the public servants started working from home,” she said.

The Flamingo Grille joins a growing list of restaurants in central Pennsylvania that have closed due to the pandemic. Recently, Bricco in Harrisburg permanently closed after Bill Kohl, a major owner, said COVID-19 and operating restrictions on the restaurant industry made it impossible to operate profitably.


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About Hector Hedgepeth

Hector Hedgepeth

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