The founder of Eugene’s Greek Restaurant, Evgeni (Eugene) Vassiliadis arrived in Victoria from his home in the bustling port of Piraeus (outside of Athens) with wife Paschalina (Lina) and two young sons, Elefterios (Terry) and Pantelis (Lee) in November 1974. Only nine-year old Terry understood English and was able to help other family members to settle in.
From the very beginning Eugene had a vision to open a traditional Greek Souvlaki Snack Bar in Victoria. However, having arrived in Victoria with only 2 suitcases and a trunk, Eugene began working as a brick-layer, his trade in Greece, in order to support his young family.
To supplement the family’s income, Eugene began working in local Greek restaurants by night and took what construction jobs he could during the day. He quickly became head chef of a local Greek Restaurant and soon Lina—an excellent cook herself—joined him. They worked side-by-side until Eugene got a great job offer in Edmonton and for a year he worked there, returning to see the family only once a month.
Eventually, the whole family decided Victoria was the place for them. Lina, encouraging Eugene to open a souvlaki snack bar, found their first location in the alleyway of the Royal Bank Building on Douglas and Fort Street. They opened their doors November 24th, 1979. Victorians slowly came to know how wonderful Greek souvlaki could be and with lines getting longer and longer a second Eugene’s opened in May 1986 at 1280 Broad Street.
Today, Lee runs the company and having a young family of his own he decided family time is more important and has changed paths from restaurant life to wholesale. He is growing the business so that Eugene’s products are available in all grocery stores island wide and into the lower mainland. Still maintaining the quality and making our famous Tzatziki & Homous in small batches. Eugene and Lina oversee from the background while enjoying their retirement, and customers of Victoria continue to enjoy the same wonderful home-made recipes that Eugene and Lina first served in 1979.