The inspiration and name for our company “Papa Spyros Olive Oil” came from our father and grandfather, Spyros Giannopoulos, who was born in a small Greek village in 1923. Our olive trees have been in the Giannopoulos family for generations and today we grow and harvest about 500 hundred trees, ranging in age from 10 to 300 years old on about 20 acres of land. Papa’s dream and vision was for everyone to be able to taste his amazing extra virgin olive oil.
Papa Spyros migrated to the United States in 1954 and started working as a dishwasher at the Taft Hotel in New Haven, CT. While there, he worked his way up and learned from some of the best Chefs in the country. Many of these chefs also taught students from the Culinary Institute of America, (then located in New Haven) often referred to as the “Harvard” of culinary schools in the United States. In 1959 Papa owned and operated his own restaurant, The Bell Spa until 1968, when it closed in order to facilitate urban renewal initiatives in New Haven. Thereafter, after he would work as head chef in diners in the greater New Haven area, until his son, Angelo, established Nick’s Place Restaurant in Madison, CT in 1986. Papa acted as head chef at Nicks Place for 30 years until he finally retired and at the age of 92. Through the years he shared his passion for his olive trees and would go to Greece every year with family members to tend them. Papa Spyros passed away at the age of 95.
Papa’s son Angelo has taken over the duties of maintaining the olive grove. Angelo was born in 1953 in Greece and moved to the United States to live with his father when he was 10 years old. He attended the University of New Mexico in the ROTC program and finished his schooling at the University of Charleston in business marketing. In 1983 he returned to Connecticut. Since 1986 Angelo, along with his papa, his wife and three children, have made Nick’s Place a welcoming and successful family restaurant.
Building on the legacy of his father and grandfather, Peter Giannopoulos, born in 1987, grew up in the restaurant business. Peter attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and graduated as Chef in 2007. As a third-generation chef, eager to expand his culinary experience, Peter, along with his father and brother, established the Chester, CT, Brushmill By the Waterfall restaurant in 2009. To honor the memory of his grandfather, Peter and his wife, Anna Markoulaki Giannopoulos have taken on the responsibility of promoting Papa’s olive oil. Today, “Papa Spyros Olive Oil” is available to the public and is incorporated into many of the culinary preparations at the Brushmill.