Maxim’s restaurant owner Christos T. Kambouris was an unselfish man putting everyone else first, his son said.
“He was hard working,” Phil Kambouris said. “He took pride in everything that he did. It had to be right, not just the taste of the food but the look of the plate going out.”
Kambouris, 81, of Merrillville, loved his family, especially his grandchildren, Kalliopi and Irene.
Phil Kambouris describes his father as “honest with a sarcastic sense of humor.” He said his father, who didn’t drive, walked to work.
Born on the Greek island of Kalymnos, Kambouris lost his father at age 8 and mother at age 13. Kambouris taught his three children, Angeliki, Maria and Theofilos “Phil,” that “nothing is easy in life, nothing is given to you, you have to work for it,” his son said.
Kambouris married his high school sweetheart, Kalliopi, in 1960 in Greece.
Immigrating to Gary, Kambouris worked in Chicago. In the early 1970s, he opened Modern Restaurant in Gary and later the Chatter Box, Georgie’s Barbeque Pit and finally Maxim’s in 1998.
“He really cared about his customers,” Phil Kambouris said. “After cooking he would sit with them in their booths. They were his extended family.”
Kambouris enjoyed playing strategic games, such as backgammon, pinochle and chess. He ran track and played soccer in Europe, and he loved watching soccer and old war movies.
Kambouris was a member of Ss. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and the Kalymian and Panhellenic Societies.
Phil Kambouris said he will miss his dad’s smile and their late night talks at the kitchen table about work and lessons on life.