Castlegar restaurant owners making big changes to improve work-life balance

Major renovations and new business model underway

Big changes are coming for the Wandering Greek Oven and its owners George and Heather Salivaras.

The couple, who work as a team to run the business, purchased the restaurant from George’s parents six years ago, and a lot has changed since then.

“Since 2015, we had two children and went through renovations, staffing challenges, food costs rising by over 20 per cent and minimum wages increasing by 60 per cent and now the pandemic,” explains George.

“Heather and I feel it is time to not only put the Salivaras family first, but also our Greek Oven family. We want to thank our staff who have seen us through the last 18 months, we appreciate you.”

The Wandering Greek Oven will be closing Sept. 11 for extensive renovations and when the doors reopen later this fall, the restaurant will have a new name, a new look and a new menu that will be Greek inspired and feature as many local or B.C.-sourced ingredients as possible.

“We want to thank Peter and Lenore Salivaras for their 17 years of service to the community, they purchased the restaurant and turned it into one of Castlegar’s premier places to gather. They sacrificed time with family and friends and their own personal health to dedicate themselves to a place the community could count on for great food and friendly service,” says George and Heather, who recognize they wouldn’t be where they are without that foundation laid by George’s parents.

While the closure and renovations were originally slated for October, the provincial government’s new vaccine passport mandate prompted the couple to move the renovation schedule up.

“We are sorry for the late notice to the community,” said George, “but we made the decision to close earlier due to the fact that we feel following this mandate would go against our core values and beliefs as individuals and business owners. Furthermore, we feel it is simply not a feasible, effective or safe way to run a business. We feel that many negative things are happening in the world and there needs to be big changes. It is time to speak up and take action.”

For the Salivaras family, one of those changes is the opening of a new restaurant that will better suit the needs of their family and a healthier work-life balance.

“We hope our decision inspires other people to start thinking and doing things differently as well,” said George.

The new restaurant will also have a theme of gratitude.

“We need kindness and gratitude now more than ever. Although there is much stress on us all, we feel there is always something to be grateful for.”

“We want to thank our community for supporting us over the last six years, especially the last few — you are what has kept us going,” says George and Heather.

The Salivarases will be sharing more details about the new restaurant — including its name — in the next few months.

RELATED: Castlegar chamber hears mixed opinions on vaccine passport from local businesses
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