Sad news in Prospect Heights today: Gus Vlahavas, the owner of beloved local diner Tom’s Restaurant, died on Tuesday, his staff confirmed to DNAInfo. He was 76.
Vlahavas started working at the restaurant, which his family opened in 1936, when he first arrived to Brooklyn from Greece at age 9. For 62 years, Vlahavas worked at the Washington Avenue eatery, arriving to work every morning at 3:30 am to serve up eggs and pancakes to the hungry masses lined up outside the door.
“I go through the routine every morning. I walk to the restaurant. It opens at seven, but I’m out there at five. I just look around, take care of my plants outside. Small, little things to keep in touch,” Vlahavas told the Daily News before his retirement.
Though he handed over the daily operations of the restaurant to family members in 2009 and officially retired in 2011, Vlahavas was a frequent sight at the counter of Tom’s, eating and talking with the line of customers. The staff, according to DNA Info, is continuing with restaurant service as usual, despite the sad news.