Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Demetrio's: 40 Years of Family and Food

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Demetrio's: 40 Years of Family and Food

Article excerpt

WHEN HURRICANE ANDREW hit Florida in 1992, the storm knocked out the power at restaurants along Tamiami Trail, causing them to close.

But not Demetrio's Pizzeria. The restaurant opened its doors to customers and had one of its most successful weeks in business.

"This place never shuts down," said Lisa Karounos Tatum, who operates the restaurant with her sister, Jennifer Karounos Antony, and their parents, Dino and Lina Karounos.

Demetrio's Pizzeria, at 4410 S Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, has been keeping its doors open for 40 years.

The original owner, Vasili Kosmos, opened the restaurant in 1975, and sold the business to the Karounos family in 1980. Kosmos had three other Demetrio's locations -- one in Bradenton and two in Tampa -- which are under separate ownership.

Since the family bought the restaurant, it has been open seven days a week, at the insistence of Dino Karounos. It closes only on Thanksgiving and in extreme situations.

How extreme?

The restaurant was forced to shut for one day in the 1980s, when storms flooded a portion of the building. The Karounos family spent the day addressing the flood, but they opened the following day as if nothing had happened.

The only Christmas the restaurant has closed for was in 2014, Karounos Tatum said.

Four decades in business is an achievement for any company, but it's especially notable for an industry in which many fail to make it past even a few years. Karounos Tatum has seen restaurants around Demetrio's Pizzeria close.

"Here we are -- still standing," she said. "That's rewarding."

Dino Karounos credits the long-standing success of the business to his family's hard work.

"I never missed a day," he said. "I was there seven days a week."

His experience in the industry goes back much further than Demetrio's Pizzeria.

He started in the business in 1937, after he and his 10 siblings emigrated to the U. …

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