Among the substantive team of community members who care for and support the Petes is the charismatic personality Jim Malakos, owner of Lock St. Diner. Previously owned by Eric Thurston, Malakos has been cooking for Peterborough and the Petes for fifteen years.
Before laying roots in Peterborough, Jimmy served in the Greek army, emigrated to Kingston and also lived in Calgary where he met his wife Juliet. He eventually returned to “The Patch” to be closer to his brother Tom. He then went on to open Theo’s Pizzeria.
Upon arriving to Lock St. Diner, patrons immediately notice the classic peeling, sun-faded letters that spell “Thurston’s” in cursive writing above the east-facing windows. Walking through the two sets of doors you are greeted by Andra the unassuming server, vocal owner Jimmy, and the faint sound of Greek news that plays on the flat screen TV mounted to the wall beside the bar. The dinning room extends from the south side of the restaurant in an L-shape and has its own Petes Hall of Fame wall, including a goalie stick used by Ron Tugnutt.
Located 300 metres away from the Mem Centre, the diner became a natural fit as the Petes breakfast spot and is why – in addition to its modest charm – it quickly evolved as an attractive spot for incoming players.
In between his laughter, Jimmy explained, “After I took over they started coming, I started going to the games, I know the guys. I know how to bring people in.” Although his hours cover just breakfast and lunch, Malakos will open the restaurant on Petes game nights for fans.
Malakos recalls hosting Christmas parties with a buffet of pies and ice cream for the Petes early on in his ownership of the diner and giving his special brand of coaching to guys who come in Thursday mornings before a game, “Sometimes I give them pep talks and they tease me. I tell them to share the puck. You have to be careful, don’t get a penalty.”
Jimmy maintains that the players enjoy going to his restaurant because of the food, however he speculates that his jokes are also a draw. Although Malakos’ stature starkly contrasts the height of the average Pete walking into his restaurant, his personality is larger than life and dictates the room’s social environment. His humour is unfiltered and story-telling is unmatched, even with English being his second language. In addition to his compelling presence, Jimmy’s sincere concern for the well-being of the players is felt by each Pete when they visit for breakfast.
Currently the charming restauranteur keeps in contact with Artur Kulda, Matt Spencer, Steve Lorentz and Ryan Spooner, and continues to value all alumni as family. Members of the community like Jimmy are vital for the experience of all junior players who come to Peterborough, as players develop an extended family with people like Jimmy, who provide spaces for the guys to cement friendships with their teammates while simultaneously making memories outside the rink.