Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kofinas Snack Bar **HALL OF FAME EATERY**

Kofinas Snack Bar opened on W Trade St in 1954. Owned by Tommy Kofinas and John Tatsis, Kofinas was popular for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and quickly became known for its daily specials. People lined up for the spaghetti on Wednesday and the roast beef lunch on Fridays. People said their corned beef was the best outside of New York City. Its clientele ranged from downtown workers to Charlotte's most famous lawyers, bankers, and mayors. Elvis Presley ate there in 1956 before his show at the downtown Carolina Theatre. The restaurant was never quiet--waitresses, instead of writing orders down, simply yelled orders out to the kitchen and Kofinas and Tatsis were famous for their loud banter back and forth. With its black mahogany bar and tiled floor, Kofinas was as much a meeting spot as a restaurant. Kofinas is also credited with being Charlotte's first sports bar--many a World Series would find the place packed with people watching the games on the restaurant's black-and-white television.

Kofinas Snack Bar would close on December 31, 1981. The Carillon building now stands on the site. Tommy Kofinas and John Tatsis both passed away in December 2002 within three days of each other.

Revisions - 10-15-11

1965 ads


  1. I love the interiors of old restaurants. Nice post. (Richard, Viewliner Ltd)

  2. I loved Kofinas Snack Bar. I ate lunch there with my dad when I was a child and as I grew older, went there on my own. Thanks for the memories!

  3. The best slaw EVER! I'd give anything for the recipe.

  4. Tommy Kofinas have a relative?
    What happened to Kofinas family?
    How would contact them?

    1. Mrs. Kofinas is still with us and living in their home in Lansdowne. She has 2 sons and a grandaughter, Steve, a priest in Greece and son Gary who lives and works in the states. Mrs. Tatsis is still with us and lives in her home in Dilworth. She has two daughters and several grandchildren.

  5. I LOVED this place! I still miss it. What a great place it was to go in downtown Charlotte. I remember Tommy Kofinas very well. When I saw these pictures, tears welled in my eyes.

    --Christian Collins

  6. Had my very first Corn Beef on grilled Rye there in 1972. My best friend at the time, Dan Eaddy took me there. I have been an addict of the stuff ever since. Everytime without fail when I eat a cornedbeef on rye I think of Kofinas's and smile.

  7. Boy this link brings back memories. Used to eat there with my dad beginning in the early 60's. He worked downtown at the theatres. Their food was awesome. I really loved the barbecue sandwich with french fries. There seemed to always be ball players there late at night. My dad used to laugh about a player from another state asking questions... trying to figure out what "grits" were. Really neat looking place too. I remember the Greek guys knew me but did not know my name. They just called me "Junior"... I guess since they usually saw me come in with my dad. Wish it was still there... it would be worth drive to Charlotte just for lunch.