By Jim Toes, STA
Last week, restaurateur icon Harry Poulakakos celebrated the 50th anniversary of the institution that bears his name, Harry’s at Hanover Square. This momentous event was recognized eloquently by NYSE at their opening bell ceremony, a worthy tribute to an honorable and extremely hardworking man who is loved and respected by many.
In his interview with Harry, CNBC Reporter Bob Pisani made the observation that Harry’s at Hanover Square is the last Wall Street institution of its kind. Bob went on to mention such famous Wall Street restaurants as Bobby Van’s and Delmonico’s, which were widely frequented but unfortunately unable to survive COVID lockdowns and changes in our industry’s demographics. As someone who has been to all three, I can attest that while there was parity in the menus, there was a big difference in terms of the level of joy I felt walking out of Harry’s versus the others, and that difference goes back to Harry himself and the human connections he makes.
Therefore, the essential meaning of the word restaurateur is one who restores. The thousands of people who have walked into Harry’s and had the good the fortune to meet its founder would all agree that they came away feeling restored from whatever inconveniences they may have experienced that day.
The word restaurant comes from the French verb restaurer, which means to restore or repair back to good condition. Therefore, the essential meaning of the word restaurateur is one who restores. The thousands of people who have walked into Harry’s and had the good the fortune to meet its founder would all agree that they came away feeling restored from whatever inconveniences they may have experienced that day.
Harry’s warm disposition, cigar in hand, makes everyone feel welcome. But make no mistake, his relaxed appearance was the result of hard work during off-hours. His patrons recognize and respect this as much as they enjoy his company.
Yes, Harry exemplifies what it means to be a restaurateur, and over the past five decades he has brought joy to many by restoring and improving their moods and mindsets. While he demonstrates this gift every day, it shines extra bright around the holidays. Whether it’s a private family gathering, dinner with friends or an office party, the holiday season at Harry’s is truly special.
With the holiday season upon us, it would do our souls some good to bring a little bit of Harry into our own homes. So as you plan this year’s gatherings, try to put that extra touch or effort into whatever you do. Welcome your guests with open arms, relish the conversations and always make sure their glasses are full. At the end of the night, you and your guests will get that same feeling of restoration that Harry has brought to so many.
On behalf of all of us STA, we wish you and your family a very Happy and Healthy Holiday Season.