Anastasios (Nick) Vlavianos went to join his wife Margarita, who passed away in February earlier this year, slipping away as he took his habitual afternoon nap on Saturday, September 23, 2023.
Born September 5th, 1932, on the island of Amorgos, Greece, Anastasios was the youngest of four siblings. He grew up during the difficult era of the German occupation of Greece during WWII. After the war, as a young teenager, he moved to Athens for better employment opportunities to help his family, working various jobs for a few years. After completing his military service, Anastasios, with the help of his older seafaring brother, procured a position at a Greek merchant line. This opportunity allowed him to travel the world on various ships, including some owned by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, a fact Anastasios was very proud of. He enjoyed his job and travels, often stating that his favorite cities were Beirut, Lebanon, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. But when he decided he had enough of the high seas and wanted to emigrate to a nation that had a clearer future and better opportunities, it was an easy choice – the United States. He came ashore in Philadelphia, briefly went to NYC, and then in 1960 discovered opportunities in Connecticut.
After working in several restaurants and learning the tricks of the trade, Anastasios was able to open a small pizza and sub shop in New London, Connecticut, near the U.S. Naval Submarine Base. It was there where he met his future wife Margarita, a civilian employee at the base. After a brief engagement, they married in 1962 and embarked on their 45+ year restaurant odyssey. Together they opened several eateries in southeastern Connecticut. But after the births of their daughters Aristea and Eirini, the young couple decided they wanted to reside in a slightly warmer region, and in 1971 moved to Charlottesville, Virginia. The first of their noteworthy restaurants was the Expresso Italian Restaurant and Pizza on W. Main St., followed by the Expresso Steak and Lobster House on Rt. 29. The Vlavianos couple brought New England food innovations to the Mid-Atlantic, and thanks to the 7 days a week, 16-18 hour workdays put in by Anastasios, enjoyed great success. But the most popular of their establishments came after a brief retirement in Athens, Greece in 1984. They returned the following year to launch the Expresso Italian Villa on Emmet St., where they remained for over 20 years. After another brief ‘retirement’, they returned in 2009 to open the Cavalier Diner, but decided to fully retire a year later, and handed the keys of the Diner to their oldest daughter.
Anastasios was truly one of the most honest and hardest working men on the face of the earth. He was astute, a quick learner who never shirked away from a challenge or responsibility, never asked anyone to do a job he wouldn’t do himself. Quite simply, the work ethic he embodied was unparalleled. He enjoyed the restaurant business and was driven to succeed, to achieve the American dream, and to make his family in Greece and in the U.S. proud. After he became a U.S. citizen, Anastasios was quick to give immigrants a chance in his restaurants, remembering and honoring those who had given him a chance when he came to this country. He and Margarita, who both grew up in difficult circumstances, wanted nothing more than to give their two daughters every opportunity and convenience that they had been unable to enjoy in their youth…and they did.
Anastasios was preceded in death by his devoted wife of almost 61 years, Margarita, his parents Ioannis and Eirini Vlavianos, brothers Michalis and Georgios, and his beloved sister Sophia. He is survived by daughter Aristea and her husband Salvatore, daughter Eirini and her husband Kostantinos, many cherished nieces, nephews, and cousins in both Greece and the U.S., and a myriad of dear friends, most notably Barty and Anne Bryant of Richmond. Eirini and Aristea would like to thank the doctors and nurses who cared for Papa over the years, in particular the last three years as his health began to fail. We would especially like to express our gratitude to the caring staff at Green Acres Rehab and Nursing in Stanardsville, who stepped in to take over the extensive care of our father after our mother’s health began to decline as well.
Visitation for ‘Nick’ will be held Thursday, September 28, 2023 from 6-8pm at Teague Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held Friday, September 29, 2023, 10:30am at the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church on 100 Perry Drive, Charlottesville, immediately followed by a graveside service at Holly Memorial Gardens on Rt. 29N.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.teaguefuneralhome.com for the Vlavianos family.