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Truck crashes into family-owned restaurant in Largo, forcing it to close

Greek Islands forced to close for repairs
Posted at 5:29 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 17:29:50-05

LARGO, Fla — Peter Poulakis always enjoys time with his dad Anastasios but this isn't how he pictured getting it. Their family run Greek Islands restaurant in Largo is now temporarily shut down after a truck broke through a back wall.

The family has owned the business for more than 30 years.

"He blew right through the back of the restaurant making a large hole in the back," said the younger  Poulakis.

It happened right in the middle of a quiet Sunday dinner with customers inside. Teri Thompson just dropped off a check when her heart came to a stop.

"It was like a big bomb. I didn't know what it was," said Thompson.

Largo police said the driver, Jarren Gud, lost control, crossed lanes and broke through the back wall of the restaurant.

"It could have been a lot worse. It happened in the storage room so no one got hurt," said Peter Poulakis.

The impact did knock out power and forced engineers to declare the building unfit until repairs are done, costing the Poulakis' thousands of dollars.

Today they had to throw out most of the food. The hardest part was telling their more than a dozen employees like Thompson they can't work until they can reopen, which could be a week or longer.

"My rent's paid, my car payment is paid," said Thompson.

She said the blow was easier to take because the restaurant feels like home, she's clocked in for more than 30 years.

"It's like working with your brothers and sisters and your aunts and uncles," said Thompson.

And family's stick together. Even though they had to turn away customers Monday, their message to loyal patrons was this:

"We will be up and running soon guys. Just hold on and be patient with us. Sorry about this happening," said Peter Poulakis.

Police said the crash happened not because Gud was impaired, just careless. The 30-year-old did go to the hospital but should be just fine. Greek Islands restaurant won't open for at least a week or even two weeks. It prompted this family to send a message to the driver.

"Be a little more careful driving. You can't be distracted while driving at all, it's very imperative," said Peter Poulakis.