Tasty trends may come and go, but some staple indulgences will never change. Which is why Andy’s Restaurant is going on 70 years, still serving up the same beloved burgers and shakes. Some good things in life don’t need to be changed.
Photography by MONICA WINTERS
First opened by Richard “Andy” Anderson in 1951, Andy’s Restaurant is an ice cream parlor and restaurant considered a landmark, even historic, to the city. Anderson retired in the 1980s, selling his restaurant to Emmanuel Emmanuilidis, who operated it for about 15 years. In 1998, William Nouaros’ family purchased the restaurant. Sixty-six years after it opened, Andy’s still stands, serving up the same beloved burgers since day one.
“Basically the ice cream shop came first, and over the next couple of years the dining room was completed to bring it to what it is today,” says Nouaros. When his family first bought Andy’s from Emmanuilidis, it had been serving up the same menu of burgers and fries. “We liked what we saw — the operation, the customers, the feel of the place — and decided to keep it the same.”
Just about everything on the menu has remained the same at Andy’s since the day the doors first opened, with the exception of the customers’ favorites: ice cream and shakes. Back in the 1990s, when Andy’s first began offering ice cream, there were about 10 different flavors of shakes. Today, the restaurant serves up nearly 30 different flavors.
Originally from the island of Karpathos in the Greek Archipelago, Nouaros’ paternal grandparents immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island in 1917. His maternal grandparents followed after World War II.
Nouaros’ parents have been in the restaurant business all their lives. “My mom started working for the Brown Derbys in Ohio in the early 1970s and continues to work in the restaurant business today.”
Prior to joining his family at Andy’s, Nouaros, who was born in Dunedin, Florida, taught English at the University of Hertfordshire in Athens, Greece. He returned to Winter Haven and continues Andy’s legacy of a burger and fries that can’t be beat to this day.
It’s the hamburgers, fries, and shakes that remain the staple menu items. They’re what keeps people coming back year after year. “Families have been dining with us for generations, and we are on a first-name basis with a lot of our customers that have been honoring us for decades. We have a great team of people here, and I think that plays an integral part in our success.” As a family-operated, hands-on business, Nouaros’ mom, Popi, and brother Niko are always striving to keep up the legacy of friendly service and a solid burger joint.
“My personal favorite,” says Nouaros, “is a steakette cheeseburger with bacon. I can eat it all day long. Lately I’ve also been enjoying our chicken, ham, and egg salads which Ms. Sharon makes daily. Also, I’m a sucker for blueberry shakes and heavenly hazelnut hard ice cream.”
Sounds heavenly, indeed.