Christo’s has served its last meal.
For the uninitiated, Christo’s is a restaurant in my home city of Brockton, MA. Former Governor and Presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis, christened the now deceased owner, Christos Tsaganis, the “Greek Salad King.” Christo’s was a throwback to a bygone era in which time stopped in 1979. There were four color-coded rooms: the Red and Blue rooms were nondescript with vinyl seating in the aforementioned colors, while the Green Room contained the bar. The Gold Room, however, whisked you back in time. It can only be described as a wooden column/structure that was meant to be evocative of a golden fountain. Access to the Gold Room or any room was granted by Christo himself: Christos Tsaganis. He would announce your party and room in a thick Greek accent over the microphone: “Vallancourt, party of four to the Gold Room.” The only voiceover audition he might win was as himself.
It’s been almost a year since the founder and owner passed away, and now his building has been sold to a local community college. Its doors closed on New Year’s Eve. His daughters plan to open a takeout restaurant, but the atmosphere will be gone.
Whenever I think of Christo’s, I immediately have a taste sensation: the greasy bar-style pepperoni pizza with the thin crust that I consumed frequently while growing up. It also reminds me of the signature Greek salad, covered with feta cheese and smothered in Greek dressing. My grandparents lived about a mile from Christo’s and it was our frequent takeout spot. I always favored that pepperoni pizza. My family did not like feta cheese, so the Greek salad was always cheese-less until I learned better.
Waiting for takeout, you could see in the kitchen as the line cooks moved with speed and precision to finish all the restaurant orders and the takeout orders.
It would never win any awards for new and adventurous cuisine, but Christo’s perfected a repeatable process. It was the place to go when you could think of nowhere else. You always knew what you were going to get, and were never disappointed.
My last meal at Christo’s was just a few days before Christo’s closed for good. I found myself making last minute plans with an old friend who grew up in the area, but whom I met after moving to Boston. It was my first time there with her. My family came along, too, as my six-year-old son wanted one last hamburger. After a two-hour wait and a seat in the Gold Room the pepperoni pizza and Greek salad tasted the same as always.