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Effie Koutoupi Bids Ontario’s Stathroy Restaurant Adieu

The Gardenia Restaurant has been a favorite mainstay in the Ontario region town of Stathroy in Canada since 1949 but in the end it closed not because of the COVID-19 pandemic but fatigue. 

Effie Koutoupi, the owner since 2000 found it was a victim of its success: so popular that she was burned out from 15-hour days at the family diner, as the manager, accountant, dishwasher, janitor, and even a waitress at times. 

“I don’t like the stress anymore,” she told The Gananoque Reporter, adding the Gardenia’s final day on Oct. 25 was “very bittersweet.” 

“I’m a very friendly person,” Koutoupi said. “I built up good relationships with my customers.” 

She said she treated them like people, not sources of income and it paid off. “It’s very hard to say goodbye to them,” she said. On the last day, there was “too much crying,” she added. 

Koutoupi’s daughter, Dina Tzirakos said her mother was a “notorious workaholic,” rising daily before the sun and working long into the night. “She loved every single one of her employees, and always looked forward to seeing her regulars.” The sweet smell of success. 

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