Our History

The Old Hamlin Restaurant's History....75 years and cou

Back in 1915, Pete Koikas brought his love of cooking from Greece to the USA. He arrived in New York and worked for five years in the restaurant business. He then sent for his wife Katherine and their two children Ted and Pauline, and they all moved to Chicago. They began their own restaurant within a few years, and with the help of their son Ted, they eventually owned eight restaurants in the Chicago area.

Desiring a more quiet life in the country, Pete moved the entire family, which now included Helen and Jenny, to Ludington, Michigan in the late 1930s. They began a restaurant at the Castlewood Motel at the South Bayou on Hamlin Lake, which is now Country Haven Resort. At the time, Ludington was becoming a busy port city, and Pete decided he could serve more customers if he was located downtown. In 1942, the move was made to the current location, and the restaurant became The Hamlin Café.

Greek people love to cook and eat good food, so it's not uncommon for many of them to own a restaurant. Of Katherine's four sisters, three moved to the area and were married to restaurateurs as well. Pete and Katherine brought their niece Toula, daughter of Stauvroula, the only sister still living in Greece, to Ludington in the late 1950s to learn the family business. Pete and Katherine had retired by now, and their son Ted and his wife Betty were running the restaurant. In 1967, Ted sold the Hamlin Café to Toula and her husband Stanley Lekkas, and her brother Tom Papadakos. That same year, two more brothers moved to Ludington--George and Chris Papadakos--and they also helped run the Hamlin Café.

Chris and wife Marsha Papadakos are the remaining family members of what is now known as the Old Hamlin Restaurant. They've expanded the business and have continued the tradition of good home cooking that their customers have expected and enjoyed for 75 years.