LAKE WORTH, Fla. - People are saying goodbye to a popular Lake Worth restaurant this weekend. After nearly 40 years on the beach, John G's is closing its location on South Ocean Boulevard in Lake Worth. The restaurant will shut down Monday, May 30 at noon. City officials are moving all the tenants off the property so they can renovate the building and beachfront.
"(I'm) A little apprehensive," said Jay Giragos, who owns and runs the restaurant with his brother, Keith, and sister, Wendy Yarbrough. "I'm scared, but tickled, in a way. A move is good, but it's not broken."
It's not broken, but Giragos says John G's can't afford to wait the year it could take Lake Worth to renovate the building they occupy on South Ocean Boulevard. So after 39 years, this is their last Sunday in Lake Worth. The restaurant is packing up for the Plaza Del Mar in Manalapan, two miles away. They plan to be back in business by early July, with jobs for all their employees and tables for all their customers.
"We'll be up and running before you can blink your eyes," Yarbrough said. Still, she has mixed emotions about moving.
"There's disbelief that it's really happening because we've been here since we were kids," she explained.
Yarbrough and her brothers grew up in their family restaurant, started by and named for their father, John Giragos in 1972. They have fond memories of working with him and the customers who have become like family.
"I hug them," said Yarbrough. "They come in. I pass menus around (and they say) "we don't need a menu." They're here so often. They're so regular. They're so dedicated and loyal."
Well before 7am, they're already waiting for tables. The line wraps around the building. Customers say they'll be waiting outside John G's new location, too.
"We'll never fail them," said Elizabeth Sutton of Lake Worth. "We've been coming since the place started in the 70's."
"The food is excellent. The service is excellent. The prices are reasonable," explained Mary Ellen Beems. She and her husband, Gene, have been bringing their family to John G's for years. "They're like our buddies after all these years."
Yarbrough said everything in the new restaurant will remain exactly the same: the décor, even the kitchen layout and the griddle.
"Of course," she said. "How are you going to cook those fabulous omelets and French toast?"