In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. That old Albert Einstein quote could certainly be applied to former Torontonian, George Katakalidis. His professional soccer career came to a premature end through injury, but opened the door to being a successful restauranteur of 81 Greek Restaurants throughout the Southwest U.S. Katakalidis is in the process of finding partners to further the growth of his franchise, Daphne’s Greek cafe.
Katakalidis, of Greek decent, grew up in the Toronto Danforth area and had a lot of sucess as a socer player. While playing on the Canadian National Socer Team he was invited to join the Canadian Olympic Team stationed at the UBC campus in BC. With his star rising, he found it tough to say no to a professional soccer contract which led to the signing with the New York Arrows. “The initial transition was tough”, Katakalidis stated. He played in New York for 3 years before being traded to the San Jose Earthquakes where he played for 2 years. He then played 4 years with San Diego before suffering a career ending injury.
After that, he enterd the restaurant industry, launching his first Daphne’s restaurant in 1991. Today, there are restaurants across California as well as Portland, Denver and Phoenix. There are currently 20 employees at his Corporate office in San Diego and he’s looking for good partners to expand his business. While he acknowledges it’s been a challenging business environment, he feels things are stabalizing.
Katakalidis continues to stay in touch with other Canadians in California and has attended several events through the Regional Canadian Group, Candiego.He plans to visit friends back in Toronto at the end of the summer. “It’s been a great experience.”
Learn more about Katakalidis restaurants at www.daphnes.biz