Reo Stakis.£500,000 Hotel Plan Withdrawn.
301 Albert Drive Pollokshields. 1970.
116 St. Andrew's Drive. 1970.
Applications by the Reo Stakis Organisation for a £500,000 hotel plan for Pollokshields, Glasgow, which were to have come before the city Licensing Court, were withdrawn on the eve of the court's sitting.
Two hotels had been planned one 'The Knowe' in Albert Drive and the other 'The Gables' in St Andrew's Drive. Both were to have been 50 bed roomed hotels. The applications were withdrawn because of opposition by local residents and Glasgow councillor Cyril Lombardi, of Pollokshields, said he was very pleased with the decision.
Mr Lombardi, who was managing director of Dambrosio, McKinlay and Lombardi, wholesale wine and spirit merchants, declared: 'This has not been a man-hunt.' The main complaint, he said was the sitting of the two establishments. He was sure that other sites could be found in the district which would not cause such concern.
The Glasgow court, however, heard several other applications for licences in Pollokshields ward, which went 'wet' through a veto poll towards the end of 1969. Two public house licences were granted for the ward, the applications having been made for removals of certificates in suspense.
The successful applicants were Mrs Elizabeth Strain, for premises at 210 Crookston Road, and Mr Joseph W Dunn, for premises at 105 Albert Drive. For Mrs Strain, it was stated that full meals would be served in her premises which would have a country club atmosphere. The conversion of an old house for the premises would take about a year to complete.
The court also granted six off-sales licences for the ward. Successful applicants for removals of certificates in suspense including Mrs Jean M Grier for a site in Easterhouse Township Centre. A provisional hotel licence for a site in Bothwell Street was granted on behalf of Strand Hotels. This venture, to cost two and a half million, will include a tower block with 245 bedrooms and a banqueting suite to accommodate 500 persons.
In the NEWS 1976...
Mr Reo Stakis. 1976.
"Are you a millionaire?" I asked Reo Stakis. His black-currant eyes widened and gave a little smile. "No," he said "I don't think there is such a thing as a millionaire. Let's say I'm comfortable, I can't complain."
I though this was the understatement of 1976, coming as it did from a man who was 63 a week or so ago, and whose firm had just reported that they had doubled their profits as compared with the previous year.
Just 15 years ago Reo Stakis owned five restaurants in Glasgow. Today his company have 27 hotels, 45 restaurants, 12 public houses, 6 casinos, 40 betting shops, an ice rink, a central store, a 160-acre farm, and a butcher's shop.
This isn't bad for a Greek Cypriot who arrived in Glasgow in 1948 and went round houses trying to sell lace made by his mother back in Cyprus. He gave up lace to go into the restaurant business, and it just happens that he asked me to perform the opening ceremony for his first eating place, the Prince's Restaurant at the top of Renfield Street.
REVOLUTIONISED EATING HABITS
He has revolutionised eating habits in Scotland. (He's also done his bit in England, for he owns hotels in Newcastle, Bradford, and Leeds.) There are also those who say that they don't like Stakis restaurants because they are all the same.
"This isn't true," says Reo. "Certainly in most of our places we keep a limited menu because we can provide better food that way. But there are differences in menus and decor in all our restaurants. I still believe we give the best value of any restaurant in Britain."
What does he eat himself? "I eat plain, and I don't live extravagantly. My wife and I will go out to eat maybe four or five times in a year. We eat at home, when I can get home, because I must keep visiting my hotels and restaurants.
"My wife is a wonderful cook, as you can tell by my tummy. I do my best to diet, but when I get home I can't resist my wife's cooking. Stews and roasts are what I like best.
A MIND OF HER OWN
Reo Stakis is a family man, although now that the family is growing up he doesn't see so much of them. "I have four daughters and two sons and they are wonderful. Two of my daughters are married and my second grandchild is expected next month. My youngest son is hoping to go to Cambridge University.
"All my children have been to University except Stasia. She is a girl with a mind of her own, and said she wanted to be an actress. Her mother and I disapproved, but she was determined. So we gave in and she went to the College of Drama in Glasgow. She came out top and my wife and I went to the presentation of prizes. When the medal was put round Stasia's neck we were both crying."
For the last two years Roe Stakis hasn't had a holiday, so he's looking forward to going to Athens for the birth of his second grandchild. "And if I haven't had a holiday," he says, "I've had my shooting. From the 12th August to January 31 every season I go out shooting. I have two shoots, one at Crawfordjohn and the other at Arnprior.
We get grouse, partridge, pheasant, snipe, and woodcock and nearly all the birds we shoot go to my hotels and restaurants. Good, because there are very few shots in them."
He gives one of his warm smiles and say's, "As well as shooting I took up fishing seven years ago. In seven years I have caught two fish!"
He points at a photograph on his office wall. "That is Archbishop Athmagonas, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Britain, and he loves fishing. So I took him up to the river Spey to fish and I thought that, if he blessed the water, it would have good results. But it didn't work and as usual we had to buy fish to take home with us.
Four Cathedrals in Glasgow
"I'm taking the archbishop up to the Spey again on the 12th of April for a couple of days and if we don't get a fish this time I think I'll give up."
Reo Stakis is the head of the Greek Cypriot community in Glasgow. He bought a West End kirk and it has been converted into the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Luke. "That makes four cathedrals for Glasgow," says Reo, "More than any British town outside London."
He estimates there are about 600 Greek Cypriots in the city. "We get about 100 to 130 in the congregation every Sunday. Yes, I know that, by modern standards, that's a good percentage, but I'm always complaining."
He stops smiling when I ask him about the future. He thinks for a moment, then says, "Well, in 1973 we had 62 building projects on hand when we sensed that a business crisis was coming.
"We stopped 60 of the projects and carried on with two, which have been successful. At this very moment we're set for expansion, not only in this country but right into Europe, if we can get the right places.
"I am an optimist for the future. I believe that, within a year from now, things will improve in the business and industrial world by from 60 to 70 per cent, on the present, especially in Scotland."
Reo Stakis regards himself as much a Scot as a Cypriot. He looks sombre and shakes his head sadly when he talks about present conditions in Cyprus. But when he talks about Scotland his eyes start shining again and that broad smile beams out.