In 1974, the Harkins family built what became known as Jim’s Steak House. Generations of locals enjoyed the delicious food served at the restaurant.
On Nov. 1, 2004 a new era began with Maria Andromidas purchasing the restaurant, now known as Jim’s Buffet and Grill. The food is still delicious and has a regional draw.
Maria was born in Greece to a poor farm family. She was 8 years old before her parents could provide her a pair of shoes. Unable to attend school past the sixth grade, she worked on the farm to help support the needs of her family. By the time Maria was 14, her family immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. They moved to Boston where her father worked three to four jobs at a time and her mother worked in a factory. Maria wanted to go back to school, but the schools would not admit her.
“Everything was very different and so nice,” she recalled. “Everything was plentiful – food, people, cars, everything,” Maria explained. In 1970, her parents began working in a restaurant. That’s when Maria also began working in the food service industry. Over time she would work in Canada, and later in her own breakfast restaurant in New Hampshire for eight years.
During this time Maria was also raising four children, all of whom obtained high levels of education. Once the children were grown Maria decided to retire to Tallahassee and spend some time visiting her six grandchildren. However, Maria missed the food service industry and found Jim’s Buffet and Grill available to purchase on the Internet.
“I love Marianna,” Maria shared. “I have met travelers from all over the world and we have our repeat customers in town, as well, as those from Dothan, Panama City and Blountstown,” she added. According to Maria, her best-selling food items are fried chicken and peach cobbler. With more than 30 years in the food service industry it was not surprising to hear Maria say “I love what I do, and when I wake up I can’t wait to go in.” She was also quick to say how thankful she was for her hard-working employees.
Jim’s Buffet and Grill, as well as Maria’s home, had damage from Hurricane Michael. “We have been blessed,” Maria explained. “We were closed for 12 days, but only due to the electricity being out,” she added. In fact, Maria conveyed that this year’s Thanksgiving business was the busiest since she opened her doors in 2004. She also plans to open the doors on Christmas.
What a wonderful business to have in Marianna! Jim’s Buffet and Grill is located at 4329 Lafayette Street. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and on holidays it will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information call 850-482-3003. Visit the City of Marianna’s website at http://www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about new and existing businesses. Shop locally and support Marianna businesses.