Source: Sherman Publications

Leo’s Coney will rise again
Popular restaurant will be 1,000 square feet larger

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

July 13, 2011

Rest assured fans of Leo’s Coney Island - the restaurant is not being torn down.

Rather, because of the high demand shown by Orion residents, Leo’s owners are redesigning the building, giving it a new facade, interior and around 1,000 extra square footage.

Bob Zafarana, the man in charge of overseeing the renovations said Stassinopoulos’s, who own the Leo’s restaurant chain, decided to renovate the building after seeing the great demand offered in the Lake Orion Area.

“They’re going to make it more efficient in the production of food because it’s a high traffic area with good demand,” said Zafarana. “The Stassinopoulos’s are putting a massive amount of money into this project, which is rare right now - most people aren’t spending a lot because it’s been so tough economically - but it will be well worth the investment.

“They’ve lost customers before because the place was undersized for the demand put on it and I think this shows they’re committed to the area.”

Chief Operating Officer Leo Stassinopoulos, Jr. confirmed these statements, and said the redesign was something they had planned on doing since Leo’s moved into the location in September 2008. Back then it was known as Sero’s.

“It’s sometimes difficult with existing buildings to get that Leo’s feel, so we went into the building knowing a remodeling would happen,” said Stassinopoulos. “We’re adding tiled floors instead of the carpet we had before, Corian counter-tops and just improving the building to make it look like new. It’s pretty much just a standard update.”

In addition to specific changes mentioned by Stassinopoulos, the building is being virtually transformed. Little of the original structure remains outside of the frame, and the blueprints revealed an inviting facade reminiscent with many family dining restaurants. The parking lot is also being reworked and new sanitary and sewage systems are also being added.

Zafarana said despite the renovations being held up for nearly two years, the Village of Lake Orion’s Government had been “very accommodating.”

“We’ve had the petition to renovate for about two years, but because of variances I required both solid planning and engineering,” said Zafarana. “The economy delayed the renovations as well, but we have all the approvals now.

“We began the renovations in the first week of June, and are still aiming to finish in the fall.”

Leo Stassinopoulos, Sr. immigrated to America from Greece in 1968 at the age of 17. He began working in a coney island restaurant, but opened his own restaurant in Southfield in 1972 with the help of his elder brother Peter. They opened their second location just 7 years later and their third in 1982.

With the opening of the third restaurant, the brothers decided to unify the three eateries with a unique name and Leo’s Coney Island was born.

For more information about Leo’s Coney Island, visit them online at leosconeyisland.com