Janet Raffelock has been eating the same meal on Friday night for the last 41 years.
Raffelock, along with her husband, Robert, has come to the Spartan restaurant on Quinpool Road almost every Friday since moving here from New York in 1969.
But the Spartan closed its doors for good yesterday, leaving the Raffelocks, and many other longtime regulars, emotional.
“It’s been part of our life. We can’t believe it won’t be here anymore,” said Raffelock. “It was more than a restaurant. It’s a real Halifax institution and we shall miss it with all our hearts.”
Located on the corner of Quinpool and Oxford Street, the Spartan was established in 1966 by the Kyreakakos family, who immigrated to Halifax from Greece.
Owner Maria Kyreakakos has been part of the business since Day 1, and was still waiting tables and chatting with customers yesterday. An emotional Kyreakakos credited the business’ longevity to the loyalty of their regular customers.
“We have a lot of regulars, a lot of nice young people from (the) university … We have the best customers you could ever have,” said Kyreakakos. “We managed to pull it through, and it’s the people that made it all through these years … We love them, like little Ruby here.”
Ruby Reed, 14, has been coming to the Spartan for 10 years, simply referring to it as the “best place ever.” As Ruby received a large hug from Kyreakakos, her mother Julie Schwartz said she was Ruby’s age when she had her first date at the Spartan.
“It really is, it’s like a second home for us,” said Schwartz. “I’ve had business meetings here. I come with my husband, we’re here almost every weekend. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place.”
The Spartan’s building and assets have been sold, and a new Egyptian-themed restaurant is set to open there in the future.