Determined owner reopens Kannapolis family restaurant after COVID-19 scare – Reuters
KANNAPOLIS — Driving to the hospital in the back of the ambulance, Stanly Tsovolos feared for his life.
Days after testing positive for COVID-19 in mid-July, Tsovolos’ health declined rapidly. His emergency hospital visit turned into a month-long stay as doctors worked to improve his oxygen levels. Once he was finally released, Tsovolos spent the next five months recuperating at home.
The harrowing medical experience was compounded by the fact that Tsovolos fell ill just months after opening the family restaurant Kannapolis at 316 Brookdale St. in the building known to many in the area as McCabes’ former home.
McCabes was a popular Kannapolis dining destination for decades, attracting factory workers for meals and celebrations. In addition to his cozy interior, McCabes was known for having a salad bar placed in a hollowed-out grand piano. Former Kannapolis Councilman Roger Haas hosted his wedding reception at McCabes and remembers it as a community gathering place with great food. The quirky salad bar has always been a favorite, but the baklava was what kept it coming back.
The restaurant suffered when Pillowtex Corp. closed in 2003 and eventually closed. Several restorers tried to bring the building back to life in the years that followed, but nothing stuck.
The building, with its large McCabes sign still standing proudly in the parking lot, was vacant when Tsovolos drove through Kannapolis about a year ago. He was immediately struck by the unique architectural design of the sprawling structure.
“This building is completely different in style from the current new buildings,” Tsovolos said. “It caught my attention.”
Tsovolos grew up in the restaurant business in his home country of Greece, and used that expertise to forge a similar career when he moved to the United States in 1989. He settled in Fort Myers, Florida, where he and his brother opened several restaurants. .
Tsovolos traveled to Kannapolis about a month after walking through and seeing the old McCabes building. Attracted by the calm of the city, he liked the neighborhood enough to move. Soon after, he opened the Kannapolis Family Restaurant in May. While dealing with a small staff, Tsovolos endeavored to establish a clientele. This effort was suddenly cut short when he was hospitalized and forced to close the restaurant without notice.
“I feel so bad because I had no choice,” Tsovolos said.
After regaining his health in December, Tsovolos reopened the Kannapolis Family Restaurant on January 1. Unable to find enough staff to open the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Kannapolis Family Restaurant is currently open Tuesday through Saturday 4-9pm and Sundays. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Looking back on his three decades in the food business, Tsovolos said it has never been more difficult to run a restaurant than it is today. The recession of the late 2000s might be the closest comparison. He currently works with about half a dozen employees and is hiring for over a dozen positions. Despite these challenges, many of which are shared by restaurants across the country, Tsovolos said he still enjoys being an owner.
“It’s a pleasure to serve people and make them happy,” Tsovolos said.
The family restaurant Kannapolis currently offers a dinner menu with a variety of entrees like steak, pork chops, salads and pasta. If he is able to hire more employees, Tsovolos plans to upgrade to three meals and would also like to add alcohol. McCabes was not only a restaurant in its heyday, but also a venue for wedding receptions and large dinner parties.
Tsovolos eventually hopes to use the spacious interior of the building to host gatherings and events. The multi-story structure, which has several separate dining areas, can accommodate around 270 guests, Tsovolos said.
“There’s so much more I want to do in this place and in this region,” Tsovolos said. “I want to show a lot of appreciation to my customers.”
More information about Kannapolis Family Restaurant can be found online at kannapolisfamilyrestaurant.godaddysites.com.