Caesar’s remains city dining tradition
In a city where beef is king, Caesar’s Steak House is a tradition that has spanned an incredible 40 years behind the same family ownership and management.
People make a reservation by asking for their father’s, and even their grandfather’s, table in the downtown location along 4th Avenue S.W.
Caesar’s opened its doors in 1972, founded by four Greek friends who had all worked together at the original Hy’s Steak House.
Two of them, Gus Giannoulis and Nick Kaketsis, are still very involved and Nick’s son, George, and Gus’s daughter, Connie, and her husband, Gerry Stuart, now manage the popular downtown location as well as the restaurant in Willow Park Village, which has only been in operation for the past 29 years.
A house and a printing plant were knocked down to build Caesar’s; Gus and Nick liked a certain Vegas property and named their new venture Julius Caesar’s.
Gus, who was a chef at Hy’s still likes to get behind the grill and says a big part of the restaurant’s success is in the quality of its meats.
It has had the same source since opening — Centennial Packers — and it is all delivered to be cut to order by the in-house butcher. Gus adds that he has obviously enjoyed the support of longtime customers and the effects of their recommendations to others.
There’s a certain pride when a visitor from Houston says they were told Caesar’s is the place for good Alberta beef.
Then there is the loyal, long-standing staff; cooks with 30 years, servers and a bus boy working there for 20, and Gladys Young has been greeting diners since the day it opened.
Decor is much the same as it was on Day 1, lots of reds and Roman columns, but the south operation has just completed a thorough makeover.
With the help of McKinley Burkart Design Group and Devitt & Forand Contractors it was taken down to the studs and has been transformed into a contemporary, clean-cut style yet hasn’t lost its sense of nostalgia.
Romanesque is certainly the nature of the front lounge that has been brightened with the addition of a large window that shows off a Sophia Loren mosaic, the ‘silent’ Italian classic movies shown above the bar, and its new name — SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus) Lounge.
The main dining area has been completely redressed down to new chairs and ta- bles that will seat 120. These include three private dining rooms.
The redesign meant closing for two months, but Stuart says that thanks to tremendous cooperation between designer and contractor it was ready to open right on time and after a soft reopening, regulars are now enjoying their new surroundings and same quality of good food.
Her Excellency Miriam Ziv, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada will be honoured at this year’s B’nai Brith Dinner.
The 62nd annual event will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Beth Tzedec Synagogue.