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Billy Goats

July 31, 2018 - 11:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Billy Goats, The Ghot, batavia, news, notify.

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It was The Goht's last stand Tuesday night as a packed house said to goodbye to a bar full of friends.

You probably know The Goht as Billy Goats, named, legend has it, after a resident across the street who years ago kept goats.

For 18 years, until May, Steve Spyropoulos ran it with legendary hospitality. But after he died in May, his son, John, found the long days of trying to run Settler's restaurant and a tavern while taking care of his family too much of a strain, so he decided to get out of the bar business.

"There's a lot of ground to cover and it's physically straining on me," Spyropoulos told The Batavian last week in an exclusive interview. "There are late nights there, early morning here. I have a family at home. I have two boys who are 14 and I've got a daughter. She's 5. You know something's got to give sooner or later; I prefer it not to be with my family."

There were a few tears among family members Tuesday night as the bar filled up with longtime customers and many glasses along the way were raised to Steve.

John said the gathering was bittersweet. He knows -- and he said the customers were telling him -- closing the bar was the right thing to do, but he also knows his father loved the bar and the customers loved him.

"These are our people," he said. "They loved us. We loved them."

He said he thanked the community for all of its support.

"It’s been a great 18 years here, and 30-plus years next door," Spyropoulos said. "It's a great community. They’ve treated us great and I love them for that. There’s a lot of good people in Batavia. That is not said enough, how good the people in Batavia really are, you know.

"They take three or four bad comments on the Internet and a lot of people think that’s Batavia but it’s not. Batavia is tight-knit. A lot of good people in Batavia. All good people here. All of them."

Top photo: Patrons in the patio of The Goht, the bar is formerly known as Billy Goats, raise a beverage to Steve Spyropoulos, who died May 11 at age 66.

Photo below: Spiridoula Spyropoulus, John's mother, Jane Branton, sister, John Spyropoulos, Christy Brown, sister, and Miranda Spyropoulos, John's wife.

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July 27, 2018 - 6:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Billy Goats, batavia, news, notify, The Goht.

There will be drink specials at the tavern formerly known as Billy Goats, 345 W. Main St., Batavia, on Tuesday because the bar won't open again on Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday, any other day after that unless some entrepreneur wants to sign a lease and open a new nightspot.

Owner John Spyropoulos wants to eliminate his existing inventory of booze because he's decided his family is more important than trying to run two demanding businesses by himself.

His father, Steve Spyropoulos, died May 11, at age 66. John said Steve wasn't just his father. He was his best friend and his business partner. 

"There's a lot of ground to cover and it's physically straining on me," Spyropoulos said during a conversation at Settler's Family Restaurant. "There are late nights there, early morning here. I have a family at home. I have two boys who are 14 and I've got a daughter. She's 5. You know something's got to give sooner or later; I prefer it not to be with my family."

Steve Spryopoulos arrived in the United States at age 19 with just the suitcase in his hand. He made his way to Batavia, started a family, and built two successful businesses. John is proud of his father's legacy and knows how much he loved running the bar, but the two businesses are too taxing and require too many incompatible hours to be managed by one person.  

Settler's is the primary family business and the one Spryopoulos really wants to run. If he couldn't do both, closing the bar made the most sense.

"It needs to be done," Spryopoulos. "You know I feel bad for the employees. We had good help over there, three employees, good employees. They've been there for a long time and I feel bad for them but they understand."

While most people still know the bar as Billy Goats, Steve and John officially changed the name about a year ago to The Goht. Now, with the business being shut down, Spryopoulos is open to talking with anybody with the wherewithal to run a bar business about leasing the building. Or he will lease it for office space. The one thing he's not going to do, he said, is sell the property. He'll put it to some use if he can't lease it.

When Spryopoulos broke the news that The Goht would be closing, one bartender today told him he made a decision his father would encourage.

"She said to me that my dad's biggest concern for me was that I would not spend enough time with my family," Spryopoulos said. "She told me, 'your father always worried about you and your family. He wanted to make sure you spent enough time with your family.' So, you know, when a bartender tells me that, that means something."

It's still a sad decision, Spryopoulos said, because he also knows the bar meant a lot to his father and just walking into the place reminds him of his dad.

"My dad touched a lot of lives over there," Spryopoulos said. "He made a lot of friends. The imprint he left on people is incredible. It says a lot."

When you run your own business there are no off hours. Running two of them is especially difficult; and bars and restaurants come with many headaches and worries you never escape. Spryopoulos said he's had no time to really come to grips with the loss of his father

"I haven't even had a chance to cope with my father's death since he passed away May 11," he said. "You get through the funeral. You get through everything. Then it's right back to work. There's no time coping, no time for myself and for my family."

Spryopoulos picked Tuesday to close down because that's the final day of the current liquor license and he decided not to renew it.

"I don't want people to think, 'oh he couldn't handle it on his own,' " Spryopoulos said. "Or saying my dad passed away and now I'm giving up. I'm not giving up. You just have to pick your battles. I'm working here six, seven days a week, from seven or eight in the morning to five or six in the evening. I've got to worry about over there and I've got my wife and kids at home. That's only going to last so long. Something has got to give."

The Goht will be open Tuesday from 4 to 11 p.m. with DJ Kevin providing entertainment. There will be "HUGE" drink specials Spryopoulos said.

May 16, 2018 - 2:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Settler's Restaurant, Billy Goats, news, batavia.

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Stylianos “Steve” Spryopoulos, a local restaurateur who loved what he did and loved his family, was lain to rest today with his funeral possession passing through the parking lots of the businesses he helped found and co-owned with his wife, Rula, and son John -- Settler's and Billy Goats.

Spryopoulos died Friday morning at age 66.

Click here for his obituary.

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May 11, 2018 - 5:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Settler's Restaurant, batavia, business, news, Billy Goats.

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Stylianos “Steve” Spryopoulos, co-owner of Settler's Restaurant, was found unresponsive on the floor of his neighboring business, Billy Goats, at 7 a.m. today and was later pronounced dead at the age of 66.

Spryopoulos and his wife, Rula, owned and operated Settler's with his son John. He opened Settler's in 1984 and expanded it to seat 150 people in 1995. He opened Billy Goats, a bar and grill, in late 2000.

The Settler's location was originally a Red Barn franchise, opening in 1966 and operated by Mike Bohn until he sold the location to Spryopoulos and a partner.

The restaurant was closed today. It will reopen at 5 a.m., Saturday.

Photo: File photo from Steve's 60th birthday party at Billy Goats.

June 30, 2011 - 11:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Settlers Restaurant, Billy Goats.

Before going out for a early evening drive, I stopped by Billy Goats where a birthday party for Steve Spyropoulos was just getting started.

Steve, who turned 60 today, and his son, John, own Settler's Restaurant and Billy Goats.

Steve was proudly serving up BBQ chicken and ribs and I got there just in time for a couple of slices of gyros -- the best gyros you've ever had. And if you've never had gyros, I suggest stopping into Settlers and asking for it. It's not always available and never on the menu, but according to John there will be some gyros specials coming up soon.

Even though it was Steve's birthday, he said the extra food spread was his way of thanking customers for their support.

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