November 19, 2012

Costas Opa Is Closed

Kirby Lindsay

Costa Antonopoulos talks about closing his iconic Fremont restaurant, Costas Opa, to Suzie Burke (with a Metro bus outside the windows) Photo by K. Lindsay, 19 Nov 12

After 32 years (31 ½ as a restaurant, but 33 years as a tenant of his space) Costa Antonopoulos has chosen to close his iconic Fremont restaurant Costas Opa.  “To tell you the truth,” he said to one of his long time customers, Suzie Burke, “I’m happy.”

When asked for a few words for his neighbors, he answered, “I’d like to say, ‘ΕΝΑ ΜΕΓΑΝΟ ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΟ.’”  The famous Greek restaurateur translated this as ‘One big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!’  “Thank you, Fremont!  Thank you, Seattle!  Thank you, Washington!,” he stated warmly.

As Burke pointed out when chatting with Antonopoulos the day after the restaurant closed, when he first came to Fremont and spent over a year fixing up the space at the corner of N 34th & Fremont Ave N, the rumors were flying.  As she recalled, the neighborhood was abuzz about the ‘European’ fixing up the space to put in a bank.

Now, that has come to be.  In what Antonopoulos called a ‘good deal,’ he sold to Chase, which will convert the site into a branch bank.  His landlord isn’t exactly happy with the change and, according to Antonopoulos, has asked him repeatedly, ‘Are you sure?’

The sign on the door, announcing the closure of Costas Opa, as seen from inside - with the neighbors across the street, Key Bank and Union Bank. Photo by K. Lindsay, Nov '12

The restaurateur is sure.  Five years ago, he explained, he’d brought in his son and daughter to see about a succession, but neither really took to running the business.  The landlord liked having a restaurant, but Antonopoulos wasn’t sure about doing a deal where he got 20% down – and then had to wait to see if the new owner could make a go of it before getting the rest of his retirement fund.

Chase, on the other hand, has dealt with him kindly, and has been flexible about his timeline.  They also don’t need any of the furnishings or fixtures, so many will go to the Costas restaurant on University Way, operated by Antonopoulos’ brother.

“I suggest people welcome Chase,” he said.  “They’ve been nice to work with.”

Very few people knew of the plan to close, which came quickly, but still the words of support, of admiration, of adulation and of regret have poured in.  As for Antonopoulos, he is glad to get a chance to step back a little and enjoy his time in front of his brother’s restaurant, and let someone else tend to the back.

For we Fremonsters, this blow will be difficult to take, but it is always good to see someone leave on a positive plan for the future.  In this case, we send Costas Opa off with fond memories and a chuckle at a friend who did good!

This writer thanks http://www.typegreek.com/ for help with the Greek alphabet.


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©2010 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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