SAULT SAINTE MARIE, MI – Earlier this year, May 20 to be exact, the Alpha Bar, founded by Greek immigrant brothers, celebrated its centennial in Sault Sainte Marie, The Sault News (TSN) reported.
According to TSN, “a pair of brothers from the Village of Bishskini, Greece, named Nick and Frank Kritselis, traveled to the Sault to seek employment at North West Tannery in the early 20th century. They saved up enough money over the years to purchase a piece of property on Portage Avenue, which became the Alpha Bar as we know today. It has gone through many name changes throughout the years, such as Alpha Sweets, Alpha Cafe and Alpha Addition.”
“This famous building has been handed down through the family for three generations and Stathi and Frank Jr. Kristelis have owned it for 28 years now,” TSN reported, adding that “in 1998, Stathi and his wife, Jennifer, opened a restaurant to the right of the Alpha Bar” and “this became Zorbas Greek American Restaurant, which has flourished throughout the years.”
A letter of recognition from the city of Sault Ste. Marie reads “What a storied history The Alpha Bar has had in our community. Think of the number of employees who have had the pleasure of working at The Alpha, along with the countless number of customers that have passed through these doors. One bar, three generations and a load of history!”
Among the events the bar has seen in its century of history, “the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the early 1980s economic recession and now the coronavirus pandemic,” TSN reported, adding that “while the virus is still going on and residents were not advised to come inside for a drink, they were encouraged to drive by and sound their horns in celebration of this event” and “State Senator Wayne Schmidt sent up a State of Michigan proclamation, which was awarded to the family by city commissioner Kathy Twardy.”
“We are not opening until Tuesday,” the owners of the Alpha Bar told TSN, “We were not expecting that announcement and are not ready to open after being closed so long. We are optimistic that we can resume some normalcy of business and are going to adhere to the protocol and will require our guests do as well. We are hopeful that our customers will be understanding of the new rules we will have to follow. We really are happy to be able to open but doing it safely is important. Everyone is nervous at this time. Hoping that the U.P. [Michigan’s Upper Peninsula] stays safe this summer.”
According to a post on the Downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Facebook page on September 5, “The Alpha Bar is not only open, it's WIDE open! Even though the storefront is under construction, you can still stop in to watch Football tonight, or for food or drinks over the weekend. Enter through Zorbas Greek American Restaurant or through the Alpha's rear entry.”
The Alpha Bar is located at 105 W Portage Avenue in Sault Ste. Marie. More information is available by phone: 906-632-3281.