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'The Cypriot' shared his success with family, friends
Christos Stavrou ~ 1925-2007
Christos Stavrou, in the middle, surrounded by members of his family: Starting lower left and moving clockwise: Chloe Stavrou, his wife; Christos Stavrou; cousin Andrikou Klanides; son Bill Stavrou; nephew Takis Panayiotou, nephew Famos Theofanous and nephew Peter Panayiotou.
As the patriarch of a large, extended family, Christos Stavrou had an impact on all those he touched, on many who never knew him, and on those who knew him simply as "The Cypriot."
The 81-year-old restaurateur died Jan. 1 of leukemia, but the sons and nephews he guided still are celebrating his life. The youngest of four sons of Christos and Chloe - his wife of 55 years - Bill, 39, of Inverness, admired his father's courage and the lessons he taught by example. "He was the first to emigrate from Cyprus, in 1947," he said. "He came here at the age of 22 and wound up alone when a great uncle died."
Little by little, Mr. Stavrou started bringing the rest of the family here, starting with his brother and sister and their families. It was that sense of responsibility that was transmitted to each succeeding generation, as surely as were the skills to run successful neighborhood restaurants or other businesses. Bill estimates his father owned and operated 12 to 15 different places, beginning on the former "Skid Row" along West Madison Street in Chicago, where Presidential Towers now stands.
"It was the cheapest way to start," he said, laughing. The other restaurants Mr. Stavrou owned, or helped launch, were scattered throughout the city and suburbs, including Palatine, Schaumburg, Crystal Lake, Glendale Heights, Elmhurst and Elk Grove Village.
For "Uncle Christ" it wasn't just about running businesses; it was about the people he loved and his devotion to work, even when he vowed to retire. During that three-year "retirement," he still helped Bill three days a week at the Valley Lodge in Glenview. "He enjoyed a challenge, sometimes for the sake of challenge," Bill said. "He lived his life as an example to all of us. We always knew we better listen when he said, 'I'm going to say this to you once, so remember it."
Mr. Stavrou turned his non-business interests toward the Greek Orthodox Church, first at St. Demetrios in Elmhurst, where he was president. Later he was a board member at St. Nectarios in Palatine. Three different priests officiated at his funeral. Close to 400 people attended the wake, many of them friends of his children and extended family. Bill said, "There would have been more, but most are already gone." Mr. Stavrou served as a mentor to all he knew, Bill said. He also shared his many contacts. If someone needed a supplier for baked goods, vending, dairy or any other aspect of the business, all he had to do was mention "The Cypriot" sent him. The bulk of his own business was in the '60s and '70s. Now, his influence can be found at his nephews' restaurants.
Pete Panayioutou owns The Continental in Buffalo Grove; and Fano and Steve Theofanous own Around the Clock in Crystal Lake; a cousin, Gus Klangides, owns The Red Apple in Carol Stream.
"He was a very proud American. He's reaping all the benefits for eternity," Bill said.
It is with great sorrow that we say goodbye to a very dear friend and our very first employee Shirley Gibson Nov 3, 1950 - October 28, 2011. Shirley passed away after fighting a prolonged illness. Our sincerest sympathies and condolences to Shirley's family. We will miss her friendly personality and warm smile. Rest in peace Shirley!
10/31/07 Restaurant Benefit Reaps Sweet Returns
By Ruth Gesmer Silverman | Daily Herald Correspondent
Days after the official end of "Just Desserts" -- the benefit for Wheeling High School student Jared Baim and his family -- residents are still opening their hearts and wallets.
"We have collected about $2,000 and we are still counting," said event organizer Pete Panayiotou, owner of The Continental Restaurant, in Buffalo Grove.
Panayiotou raised the money by contributing all his dessert sales to benefit Jared, who suffers from muscular dystrophy. The teenager recently had a serious setback and has been hospitalized for more than a month.
"People are still handing me $20 to $25 above the amount of their checks, whether they eat desserts or not," Panayiotou said. "Some are just coming in to make donations."
He said the donations will not cover Jared's five weeks in intensive care but will help the Wheeling family with day-to-day expenses -- "the cost of driving back and forth, meals at restaurants or at the hospital, that sort of thing."
In September, the 17-year-old contracted stomach flu, which made him vulnerable to complications. The bug settled in his heart, and he was on life support for three weeks at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
The teen pulled through. His uncle and family spokesman, Don Singer of Buffalo Grove, said Jared is off of life support and getting kidney dialysis.
Jared will have to stay in the hospital long enough to undergo cardiac and physical rehab, but he's doing well and looking forward to getting back to Wheeling High School, Singer said.
Donations are still being accepted at The Continental Restaurant, 788 S. Buffalo Grove Road. Call (847) 459-4095 for details.
10/20/07 Continental Restaurant holds fundraiser for teen!
A Buffalo Grove restaurateur is hosting a fundraiser next Thursday and Friday to help out the family of Wheeling High School student Jared Baim.
Pete Panayiotou, who owns the Continental Restaurant at 788 S. Buffalo Grove Road, says all the proceeds from a special Jared birthday cake, plus all other desserts sold those two days, will go to the fund that helps pay Jared's medical expenses.
Jared, who has muscular dystrophy, has been in Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge this past month, after an infection settled in his heart.
Still in intensive care but no longer intubated, Jared is waiting for his kidneys to begin to function so he can get into a regular hospital room and resume his studies with a tutor, according to his uncle, Don Singer of Buffalo Grove.
Singer said doctors have assured Jared his kidneys will be fine.
"They have him doing lung-strengthening exercises, so he can breathe more comfortably and talk," Singer added.
Panayiotou held the first "Just Desserts" fundraiser a few years ago to help Jared and his mother, Ellen Baim, buy a van that would accommodate two wheelchairs. Ellen Baim has multiple sclerosis, and two wheelchairs wouldn't fit in the family car. Funds raised also helped to install a ramp in the Wheeling home they lived in at the time.
For Jared's 17th birthday next week, Panayiotou is teaming with Concept Food Brokers of Arlington Heights for a "Happy 17th Birthday, Jared" cake. The sheet cake will feed 100 people.
"Jared has touched me since he was very young," Panayiotou said.
While Jared was sedated and on life-support, the restaurateur visited him with a "care package" from his favorite team, the Green Bay Packers.
Though he couldn't speak, the teen gave Pete a thumbs-up when he saw the signed photo of his hero, Brett Favre.
The restaurant is at the northwest corner of Buffalo Grove and Dundee roads. Hours are 6 a.m. to midnight daily. Call (847) 459-4095 for more information.
In our continuing effort to provide a pleasant atmosphere for our families and business clientele, we are very pleased to announce that as of May 1st, we have installed a wireless Internet access ring in the restaurant. It lets us provide free Wi-Fi service to all of our patrons in the restaurant. Try it on your next visit to The Continental. If early positive response is any indication, more and more patrons will continue to enjoy WiFi connecting to friends, family and business associates throughout the world, from right here in Buffalo Grove.
Smoke Free Restaurant
In January 2006, The Continental Restaurant went totally smoke free for the pleasure and health of our customers. The response from our patrons has been extremely positive. As a family restaurant, we are always looking for opportunities to meet and or exceed our customers’ expectations.
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