Farewell to Big Nick
George Stamadianos takes his dad's place at the Cloverleaf
by Sally Mitani
From the May, 2014 issue
The corner of Fourth Ave. and Liberty will be much changed this spring. Nick Stamadianos will not be sunning himself in his favorite spot outside his Cloverleaf restaurant, as he always did at the first sign of warming weather. He died suddenly in March. Son George, thirty-eight, had been planning on coming back to the business anyway, to give his mother, Pat, and his dad a little relief. George hadn't been spending as much time at the Cloverleaf lately--he's been working around Detroit and Monroe as a union laborer--but he could run the Cloverleaf blindfolded. "When I was twelve I was washing dishes and peeling potatoes. It was a different upbringing." Back then the restaurant was on Broadway, where the Northside Grill is now.
There will be no price or menu changes, at least until food costs force his hand. "I was just over at Gordon Foods and spent forty dollars on a corned beef this big," his hands span something roughly the size of a grapefruit, though, on the upside, he's grateful to have a GFS on W. Liberty instead of having to drive out to Carpenter Rd.
"My dad was known for giving an affordable meal," and he gave them to a lot of people who couldn't even afford Nick's old-school diner prices. "If you were honest with him and sober, he'd give you a free meal," George says.
"And disabled Vietnam vets," calls longtime customer Sue Sabo from her table across the room. "A lot of restaurants get impatient with people in wheelchairs. Nick really cared for them."
Cloverleaf, 201 E. Liberty, 662-1266. Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
[Originally published in May, 2014.]