Over 103 Years
In 1955, two cousins from the Greek city of Tripoli, with more hope in their hearts than money in their pockets, had a chance encounter with a restaurant owner that would forever change the lives of all three men.
The story of Christie's Restaurant begins roughly a century earlier, when a Greek man named Theodore Christie arrived in America from his birthplace in Constantinople (now Istanbul). In 1905, the 20 year old graduate of Turkey's prestigious Robert College found work as a court interpreter in New York City and was later introduced to the world of hotel and restaurant management.
On the advice of a friend, Christie moved to Galveston, where legal gambling and a bustling tourist trade fueled a booming local economy and other Greek immigrants were prospering. He opened a sandwich shop in the Tremont Hotel, where his fried fish sandwiches on toasted Po-boy bread made Christie's an instant hit.
Galveston Island remained home to Christie's until 1934, when its successful founder once again followed a friend's advice and moved to Houston. Soon, Theodore Christie had full service restaurants on Bellaire Blvd. and Post Oak, with two more on Main Street (near the Astrodome and in the shadow of downtown).
One Sunday after church, cousins James Priovolos and Steve Zoes dropped by the Christie's (location), advised by James Petheriotes, the local owner of Royal York Coffee, to "go work for 'old man' Christie". Finding all three dining rooms packed with guests, the two immediately made themselves useful, clearing tables and seating guests. When Mr. Christie emerged from the kitchen, overwhelmed by their generous but unsolicited assistance, he declared, in their mutually native Greek, "You are a Godsend" and immediately put them on this payroll. Thus began a new chapter of the Christie's restaurant story.
In 1967, Theodore Christie offered the two cousins from Tripoli to sell them his restaurants, with one condition. With no children bearing his name, the seasoned entrepreneur hoped to ensure the legacy of his enterprise and asked his trusted co-workers to change their last names to Christie.
The rest is Texas restaurant history.
Today, the daughter and son of James handle the daily operations of the remaining Christie's Restaurant in its original location on Westheimer. With each day, they honor their father and uncle by maintaining their family's century old commitment to serving the finest quality steaks and seafood in family-friendly fashion.