When George Gagis’ brother-in-law moved from New Jersey to North Carolina 10 years ago to open a breakfast place, George decided to follow. With a lifetime of hospitality experience with his family in restaurants and catering, it stood to reason that the family would enter another business venture together. This one was called Stacks Kitchen, and it was in Waxhaw.
Seeking other opportunities, his father and brother-in-law drove the surrounding areas looking for a second, larger, more visible location. Eight years ago, Stacks Kitchen in Matthews (11100 Monroe Road) was born. To hear George, 50, tell it, this would be his modern-day diner. Together with his wife, his relatives, and often his teenage sons and nephew, it would be another home away from home filled with good food, a homey atmosphere and full of heart. The menu would reflect that of a diner, with a smattering of specialty items, including those from his childhood - Greek favorites (moussaka and some desserts, for example).
Today, Stacks is one of the most popular breakfast/lunch restaurants in Matthews. On this weekday brunch hour, the restaurant was nearly filled, with many regulars and almost one dozen staff (he has 30 employees) diligently doing their jobs. He says his turnover rate is very low. “I love it here,” said waitress, Ashley Peters, 19, of Matthews. “The people are great, and they care about you.”
At the heart of it all is George, who, together with his wife feel this as their pride and joy – an extension of their lifeblood and an opportunity to make all who enter feel more than welcome.
To continue with this sense of connectedness, George has intentionally kept the restaurant hours to a minimum – no dinner, drinks, or late-night meals - the restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. so that he can stay home with his family. “It is a diner,” he said, “but does not have the hours of a diner.”
However, he works seven days a week, nearly 365 days a year, patiently and meticulously overseeing all facets of the organization, circling the room, making sure that diners are happy, content and well-fed. “I want people to feel comfortable here,” he said. “That everyone is smiling and they don’t feel out of place.”
It is a sentiment echoed by many of those interviewed in the restaurant. “This is good food and good people,” said Michael Keith, of SouthPark. A regular customer who has been going to Stacks six days a week for the past five years, Michael referenced that his 18-mile daily roundtrip commute is always well worth it. He echoed George’s sentiments entirely, too: “It’s a great place to be at. It’s more like a real diner.”