PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Tom’s Restaurant will always be Gus Vlahavas’ place and now, it’s on Gus Vlahavas Place, too.
The restaurant’s corner, Sterling Place and Washington Avenue, got a new sign in a co-naming ceremony on Sunday with the Vlahavas family and local elected officials, including Council Member Laurie Cumbo, who approved the new name this summer after the eatery's current owner, Jimmy Kokotas, submitted the idea to commemorate Vlahavas to the local community board earlier this year.
“There were enough people in the mayor’s office and enough people in this community that realized the importance that Gus played to Prospect Heights and to Washington Avenue. So it really was a slam dunk,” Kokotas told the Brooklyn Reader at Sunday’s ceremony.
Gus Vlahavas, at left, was the longtime owner of Tom's Restaurant in Prospect Heights, pictured on the right. Photo credit: NYC.gov and DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith.
Vlahavas was well-known in the area for greeting customers at the restaurant’s door and for handing out coffee, fruit and pancakes to the dozens of people who would wait in line outside Tom’s on weekends — and still do.
The diner was opened by Vlahavas’ father, Tom, in 1936 and has been serving big breakfasts, raspberry lime rickeys and egg creams to the neighborhood ever since, something that won’t change anytime soon, Kokotas told the newspaper on Sunday.
“We’re not going to start serving fancy-schmancy food just because there are a lot of millionaires buying apartments in the neighborhood. We’re about old-school comfort food. That’s what we’ve always been. That’s what we’ll continue to be,” he said.