Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Chaconas Family: Spiro’s Gyros and Islander Pride

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Spiro’s Greek Cafe is located at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

Spiro and Nancy Chaconas are the owners of the highly successful Spiro’s Gyros at the Ferry Landing. They are also champions of the Coronado school district. Simultaneously building up their restaurant, they raised two sons who ascended the Coronado School district. Sons Michael and Demetrios graduated and went on to receive college degrees and successful careers of their own. The Chaconas’ love for both their business and the Coronado education system has gone hand in hand. Locals frequent the family owned restaurant and through the restaurant the Chaconas donate meals to teacher work days and host fundraisers on their patio. Many recognize the name Chaconas from β€˜Chaconas Field,’ the CHS baseball field located at Silver Strand Elementary School. The Chaconas kicked off the Naming Rights program with their generous $250,000 donation to Coronado Schools Foundation in 2021.

Spiro’s Gyros

Almost three decades ago, Spiro was biking past the boarded up Mrs. Field’s and thought it would make a great restaurant. Spiro’s friend had operated many seafood restaurants in the LA area so Spiro approached the Ferry Landing about the concept. However, with Peohe’s already established, the Ferry Landing turned him down. Spiro then asked if they would be open to him serving Greek food and they agreed. Spiro and Nancy regularly visit Greece, where Spiro’s ancestors are from. Spiro’s Gyros serves delicious food and flavors of the Mediterranean with an atmosphere of unique Greek β€œtaverna” tradition. They have been family-owned since 1998.

Spiro discusses his initial concern about opening the restaurant, “99% of restaurants fold after the first year, I think ‘I am throwing away all my money,’ but four months later I had made my money back. We have done 3-4 remodels since then.” By keeping their restaurant up to date and keeping their food both reasonably priced and high quality, Spiro foresees many more years ahead for them. “We have lived here almost thirty years and I still look to the young families that come in. There is a degree of change with the landmark restaurants. Businesses change tremendously, like politics. But being a small family owned business, with high cost of food and wages, this was our reason for being.”

Spiro’s patio with view of the bay and downtown San Diego skyline.

Along with an appreciation for the locals and the local community, Spiro also nods to the military. “The military has been wonderful. We offer them a discount. We love hosting their groups on our patio.”

In addition toΒ  the natural turnover of the restaurant industry, Spiro points to the pandemic as another factor for change. He shares, “COVID definitely took people to their knees. We wanted to keep our people working. Some have been here for 15, 20, even 25 years. We keep paying them well, that’s our commitment.” The root of his philosophy, Spiro says, “we need to support each other, support our business, keep an open mind.”

The Chaconas Commitment to Coronado Schools

Both Spiro and Nancy served the Coronado schools in some capacity. Spiro was president of the Coronado Schools Foundation board and sat on the board for ten years. Nancy was president of Village Elementary’s PATT (Parents and Teachers Together) organization while her sons were in school. Witnessing the success that both of their sons found in the school system and life after, Nancy and Spiro are committed to giving back. Nancy gushes, “Our school system is so good. With the rebirth of the next generation we have to step aside. Developing character and confidence to make good decisions are the most important things. As they said in an old movie, ‘the ride is getting tough, buckle your seatbelts!'”

The Chaconas Family

Read Spiro’s full Greek history here. A really incredible story of the American Dream.

1201 1st Street, Suite 4
Coronado Ferry Landing
[email protected]

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