New owners for Hank’s Place

It’s a changing of the guard as Peter Skiadas, left, stands with Katie and Anthony Young, the new owners of Hank’s Place.

It's the end of an era in Chadds Ford Village. For the first time in 26 years, Hank's Place, the popular eatery on Creek Road at Route 1, has new owners.

Anthony and Katie Young, of West Grove, bought the restaurant from Peter and Voula Skiadas. The sale was official Tuesday, May 9.

Anthony Young said there wouldn't be any changes Hank's. The menu will remain the same, and the Skiadases have agreed to help out during the transition period.

Neither Young is new to the restaurant industry. The couple met while working at the former Pace One in Thornbury. Katie Young worked the front of the room while Anthony worked as a sous chef.

Anthony also worked a couple of years at the Dilworthtown Inn and 18 years with Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, mostly in West Chester.

While he knows his way around a kitchen, Anthony Young said he's glad to have Peter Skiadas around to help with the Greek recipes.

And Young himself is not new to Hank's. He's been a customer since the 1990s.

"I fell in love with the place, " he said. "I always sat at the counter next to some guy I only knew as Andy."

It wasn't until later that his wife told him that Andy was Andy Wyeth.

Katie Young agrees with her husband that Hank's should stay what it has been, "Where hungry people eat and friendly people meet."

"We want to be a part of the community. The only new things here will be our faces," she said. "We're just local people who bought the place and want to keep history alive. We want to continue the legacy."

That legacy began decades ago when Hank Shupe ran the place and gave it his name. But most people today think of Peter and Voula Skiadas when they think of Hank's Place.

The food is classical home cooking, and the operation has been run by a man with a classical background and who lived the classic American immigrant success story.

Peter Skiadas, who has a master's degree in classical studies, first came to the U.S. in 1956 for his education. He went back to Greece in 1961 but returned to the states six years later to teach the classics at Hellenic College in Brookline, Mass.

In a 2003 interview, Skiadas laughed about those teaching days and said, "Being a professor in that field you have to be financially independent."

He left teaching to join his brothers in the restaurant business in Lancaster. He and Voula owned the Longwood Inn for a time, then bought Hank's Place from Shupe in 1991.

Peter and Voula have been a part of the Chadds Ford community ever since. Each January, the couple would dedicate one Sunday as a benefit breakfast for the Chadds Ford Historical Society, donating $1,000 of the day's receipts. And that will continue with the Youngs.

Peter, 82, was asked what they'll do now without the restaurant to keep them busy.

He borrowed from St. Paul saying, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

Philosophically, he added that he's "ready to accept the ultimate end."

But before that day, he said he and Voula would travel and enjoy their grandchildren.

Voula Skiadas said it was the right time to sell and that they made sure they found the right people for Hank’s Place. The Youngs, she said, are those people.

As for the customers, “I love everybody in the village. My heart will always be here,” she said.

Hank’s Place was closed Wednesday so the employees could be told about the sale.

“The employees gave me the greatest gift, their tears, when they heard,” Peter said.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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