Typical of the thousands of Greek immigrants who entered the food business in Chicago, initially as peddlers and food vendors, is George Damolaris who is shown here in this 1911 photo with his hours and carriage and his assistant standing by. Damolaris arrived in Chicago in 1906 and spent his entire life in the food vending business, eventually replacing his horse with a truck, earning a comfortable living for himself and his family until retirement and subsequent death in 1976. It was these types of endeavors that paved the way for Greeks to move forcefully into the food service industry, resulting in their becoming among the foremost restaurateurs, grocers and confectioners of Chicago. Typical example was the John Raklios restaurant chain which numbered over 45 restaurants in the city. By the mid-1920s, Greeks gained virtual control of Chicago's wholesale food industry at the Randolph and South Water Streets commission markets. They operated more than 10,000 retail stores - 500 in the Loop - doing an estimated $2,000,000 each day and earning a reputation of being hard working and astute businessmen.
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Photograph, 1911, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/3783. Accessed 03/26/23.