Tag Archives: George Georgiou

Sun sets for good on Moon Dance Diner

by Susan O’Neill
MAPLE PARK—The windows of the Moon Dance Diner, once so lively and inviting, are currently covered with brown wrapping paper. Owner George Georgiou, who opened the diner with his wife Liz about a year ago, said that there just wasn’t enough business to support it.

Georgiou closed the restaurant at the end of the day on June 15.

“There’s a lot of good people in Maple Park that supported me,” he said. “As sad as I am to see it go, it was a great experience. There are quite a few people that I became friends with.”

Georgiou, who had been a commercial and editorial photographer for 25 years, opened the diner on Main Street in Maple Park in July 2011. Having his own restaurant in a small town and becoming part of the community had always been a dream of his.

This he did accomplish.

“He was all about the community,” Old Second Bank employee Chris Heyob said. “He would promote the other businesses in town, and he made it a priority to get to know people by name.”

She said that if the American Legion was having a fish fry on a Friday, he would make sure not to do anything that would interfere with that.

Heyob added that Georgiou purchased the frames for the pictures on the walls in the restaurant from the frame shop in town.

The diner, which featured homemade soup, sandwiches and pie, was decorated with hot rod pictures and other memorabilia. Old photographs of Maple Park adorned the walls.

“He made it so cute in there,” village resident Denise Rogers said. “It was a nice little hometown restaurant.”

The diner was open for breakfast and lunch, and on Thursday nights, George would make spaghetti and homemade meatballs from a family recipe.

According to Old Second Bank Loan Officer Jason Hawkins, Heyob and the other bank employees would go to lunch at the diner or order out from there about once a week. Hawkins said that the restaurant offered a different option in town; that it was a little unique.

Hawkins also enjoyed the car shows that Georgiou held in front of the diner. Hawkins owns a 1970 Chevelle, and said he was disappointed that he hadn’t have the chance to bring the car down for the show.

Maple Park resident and Realtor Roxanne Stover said she found more than a restaurant owner in Georgiou—she and her husband Al found a friend.

“It was a great place to eat, but it was just as much fun visiting George,” Stover said. “It was a great atmosphere, and there is no one with a better, more positive attitude. You just felt like staying there all afternoon.”

When he opened last year, Georgiou said his goal was to serve the community with a place where seniors and others could come and hang out and where the prices were affordable.

“He poured his heart and soul into that restaurant,” Stover said. “They will be sadly missed.”

Hot rod diner with a twist of country

Photo: The Moon Dance Diner on Main Street in Maple Park is an old-fashioned ‘50s style eatery with a comfortable atmosphere and lots of memorabilia on the walls to look at while you enjoy your meal. The staff that keeps the Moon Dance Diner running are Angie Cano (left to right), Maryann “Mert” Weinart, owners George and Liz Georgiou, Jordan Manier and Laura Weyker. The Georgious (below) of Elburn opened the Moon Dance Diner on July 21. Photos by John DiDonna

Moon Dance Diner opens in Maple Park
by Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARK—Where can you find homemade apple pie, homemade corned beef on a signature reuben, homemade chicken, egg and tuna salad, the best Greek salad in Illinois, burgers the likes of the Juicy Lucy and the Tummy Buster, and even diner classics like spam and eggs and fried bologna sandwiches? The answer is the Moon Dance Diner in Maple Park, operated by George Georgiou and his wife Liz.

When you enter the cozy diner on Main Street in Maple Park, at the site of the former Sanders barbershop, you enter a world of car and hot rod memorabilia. Gas and oil tin signs hang on the walls, along with old photographs of Maple Park. The barbershop and other businesses that lined Main Street in eras past are pictured. Red vinyl swivel stools sit along the wooden counter, which, along with the tables, were handmade by George out of reclaimed wood. The logo is a horse and crescent moon, appropriate because the diner was named after Liz’s horse. With room for 35 diners, the cafe is the dream of George, who grew up in a restaurant family in the city.

“I’m Greek. It’s in my blood,” George said. “Opening a diner was something I always wanted to do.”

After 25 years as a commercial and editorial photographer, he found the industry was changing, and after moving to Elburn five years ago, the commute to downtown Chicago was becoming too much. He and his wife Liz began scouting locations. Ironically, the first one they looked at in 2007 was the current location, but it wasn’t meant to be at that time. Only after almost closing a deal on a place in DeKalb did George realize what he really wanted.

“It dawned on me that that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to deal with liquor and having college kids in and out,” he said. “My goal was to service the community with a family-oriented place where seniors could come and hang out and where the prices are affordable.”

On a menu with nothing costing more than $10, George does as much scratch-cooking as possible and buys his produce from Wiltse’s. A diner in Maple Park seemed like an ideal location because, George said, people have to drive to Elburn or Cortland just to get a bite to eat.

“I want to work with the people in the community. I want to support the community, so they can have a place they can call their own,” he said. “I like the location, I like Maple Park and I love the people. We absolutely love the people of Maple Park’s support,” he said.

As fall comes around, the Moon Dance will start serving soups and chilis and may try opening a couple of nights during the week. George also would like to make the diner a destination for people out for a drive in the country. And he has one more thing he would like to see.

“My goal is to get on ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,’” he said.

Moon dance Diner & Grill
309 Main St., Maple Park
Monday through Friday • 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday • 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on
Sunday • 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. breakfast only