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When cousins Olivia and Hanna rang out the last customers shortly after lunch on Friday, March 31st, they rang out the end of an era in the Village of Honeoye Falls.
Critic’s Family Restaurant, 20 North Main Street, opened on July 5th, 1983. It’s been a “go-to” place for young and old, farmers and office workers, students and teachers across the generations. It was known for its classic American dinner menu. The food was served promptly, it was served well, and its taste kept customers returning for more.
Brothers Dimitrios, John, and Steve Kokkinis started the famed Honeoye Falls eatery and were joined by Dimitrios’ sons Nick and Gus. At the time, the family operated a restaurant at 906 West Main Street in the City of Rochester. Gus continued to run the Rochester restaurant until 1991 when Steve bought it and Gus joined Nick at the Honeoye Falls location.
If you’re like most folks from these parts, Critic’s has been a part of your life. Through the decades, the family diner has been interwoven within the fabric of our community. It’s been a favorite after-school meeting spot. Sports teams would often meet there before or after practice, especially when the weather was nice.
It’s also been the hub of charity campaigns (see “Best Buddies Fundraiser Is A Success,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, April 1, 2021). Owners Nick and Gus Kokkinis would open their doors to many groups, frequently giving non-profits 20% of all sales made during the benefit.
People from all over made Critic’s a regular stop. Families dominated the weekend crowd. Nearby workers flooded the place on weekdays. But mornings… mornings were special.
Critic’s had a regular morning crowd. The same group of senior citizens would come in first thing and sit at 2-3 tables. “You could set your clock to them,” remembers Gus.
It all came to an end last Friday when a couple from the school took their bill to the counter and the cash register was open and shut for the final time. Crowds of people tried to make it “one last time.” There were reports of a waiting line. The diner ran out of eggs at 11:15am. It ran out of everything else soon after and closed early at 1:30pm.
So ended a multi-generational tradition within the Village of Honeoye Falls. And it really spanned the generations.
“We’ve seen customers and staff grow up,” says Nick. “For example, we had a customer bring her baby straight from the hospital to have lunch here. They didn’t even go home yet. Now this child is 22 years old and he’s still coming here.”
Not anymore, though. In March of 2021, the Village reached an agreement with the Kokkinis brothers to buy the property from them in order to expand the firehall (see “Village One Step Closer to New Fire Hall Reaches Agreement with Critics,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, May 19, 2021). The deal is expected to close on April 12th.
“We appreciated the community support for all these years and we met a lot of great people,” says Nick and Gus Kokkinis. “We’re going to miss them and our staff. We left our mark in Honeoye Falls in a positive way.”
Honeoye Falls Mayor Rick Milne adds, “Thank you to Nick and Gus, the owners of Critic’s. They have served our community for some 35 plus years with Critic’s Family Restaurant. We will certainly miss them. We thank them for their many years of service to the community, and just providing a great place for people to go and eat. We’ll miss you guys. Every community needs a good diner, and they’ve provided that service for a lot of years. So thank you to Nick and Gus.”