A customer who has been left heartbroken at the news of her favourite Aberdeen restaurant closing has launched a crowdfunder to show her appreciation for the establishment.
Karolina Piwko has visited Christos Greek Taverna in Aberdeen numerous times since 2011 and was devastated to discover that the venue has been forced to shut due to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Closing at the start of July, Aberdeen’s little Greek corner on John Street has been serving residents in the Granite City since 1991 and was run by Christos Karageorgiades and his family.
Karolina, who now lives in Edinburgh, launched the Just Giving page last week and has already hit her £5,000 target.
Hundreds of customers joined her in showing their support and appreciation of the restaurant with more than 125 people donating.
The money raised will go to Christos and his family, wife, Fiona, and his son, Alexandros, who all worked at the family-run venue. Karolina says it will give them a “much-needed boost at such a sad time”.
Hundreds of people commented on the business’s Facebook page and the outpour of support can also be seen on the crowdfunding page, too.
She said: “I’ve known Christos for 10 years now. I went to the restaurant for the first time in 2011 and I was introduced to it by Gill and Lee Drain who were customers for years.
“I used to live in Aberdeen and moved to Edinburgh in 2013. Every time I visited we always went to Christos. The food, atmosphere and hospitality was always amazing and we had an unbelievable experience every time we went – and the dancing on the tables.
“When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year I messaged Christos and he had so many obstacles when trying to do things. They tried to do takeaway and had so many problems, then flooding and things like that.
“It is heart-breaking. I can only imagine how much the rent is and how expensive it has been to run a business just now.”
Closed for business
Launching the fundraising campaign last week, Karolina is delighted to have hit her target already and plans to keep the page open for a week or two more to see what additional funds she and other diners can raise for the family.
She added: “When the news broke about him closing I was devastated. We were told the last service would be on July 3 and within five minutes we had booked a hotel and a cat sitter as we wanted to go.
“We sadly didn’t get to go as he had to close a bit earlier which is a shame. When we booked to go for our last meal we had decided that whatever the bill was going to be, we would pay double just as a thank you to Christos and his family.
“I know Christos is such a proud man. We were scared he would see it as charity but this isn’t charity, this is us showing our appreciation as customers for everything he has done.
“Christos was speechless when I told him. We have hit £5K now and it is really amazing. I can’t imagine what it has been like. His wife was always in the kitchen and Christos was always front of house.
“I remember dancing on the tables and I wanted to show him how loved his restaurant was. Myself and Gill started a group on Facebook Messenger and got some people together, then we were pasting the link on social media and it has really taken off. It is more than just a restaurant, there’s a huge community of people around it.
“We want to raise more than £5K if we can as there’s some fees we have to pay Just Giving to get the funds to Christos. We’ll keep the page open for a little longer for more people to donate if they like.”
And Christos Karageorgiades was left speechless when he found out about the fundraising campaign.
He added: “It is difficult to speak about the restaurant. We are devastated and I know what all of our special friends are doing to help us.
“Words are not enough to express our forever appreciation. We were never expecting anything like this to become a reality. They are all wonderful people but we knew that anyway.”