CAPE ELIZABETH — Lisa Kostopoulos and her family have been feeding friends and neighbors for more than two decades, and on Oct. 13 will celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Good Table restaurant.
Kostopoulos grew up in the business and remembers watching her parents run restaurants when she was a child. She said her father Tony needed a partner, so on a Sunday in 1986, at 26 years old, Lisa became a restaurateur.
“My father always said this will be a place for neighbors, this will be a place for family,” she said.
And although the restaurant at 527 Ocean House Road has evolved over the years and survived a devastating fire, Kostopoulos said it has remained true to its roots, a place for friends and neighbors to gather together and share a meal.
“This place has really evolved from the all-you-can-eat spaghetti-and-meatball Wednesday suppers and fish-and-chip Fridays to the seasonal, fresh local food we prepare now,” she said. “It has grown into something I am absolutely thrilled with.”
Looking back, Kostopoulos said the fire that destroyed the restaurant in August of 2001 really solidified her commitment to the business, the staff and her career. She said she was 41 at the time, and at a place in her life that could have taken her in a different direction.
“But I realized that I am a hostess, and hosting people and feeding people is definitely the essence of who I am,” she said. “It gave me a new spark and a new fire.”
Kostopoulos’ dedication to the restaurant is evident. She treats her staff like family and they stay with her for years.
Breakfast cook Danny Elwell, also known as “the egg man,” has been there for 18 years, along with a manager for seven years and some of the servers for many years. Head chef Ryan Weeks is 34 and has worked for Kostopoulos for six years. He said he enjoys writing the menus, being creative, and using local ingredients.
“I’m really lucky, but we run the place like a family,” Kostopoulos said.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary, she is throwing a party at the restaurant on Saturday, Oct. 16, with an open house from 6-8 p.m. Then, she and her parents will probably go to dinner at a fancy restaurant, she said.
Kostopoulos said the 25-year mark has refueled her, similarly to how she felt after the fire, so she wants to make some changes. Starting in January the restaurant will hold Sunday suppers from 4 to 8 p.m. featuring food not available on the regular menu and wine pairings, she said. She also is considering adding a bar area.
“Who knows what the next 25 years will bring, but for me, the past 25 years have been about seeing families grow, watching people get engaged here and even losing dear customers,” she said. “I always think, I fed this person and now this person is a part of my heart.”
Chef Ryan Weeks of The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth shows off maitake mushrooms purchased from a local farmer’s market. Weeks will use the mushrooms, also known as hen of the woods, to make a ravioli dish with other local ingredients.
Tony and Lisa Kostopoulos, a father-and-daughter team, run The Good Table restaurant in Cape Elizabeth, which celebrates 25 years in business this month.