The Southland Restaurant, 1944

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The Southland Restaurant, 1944

The Southland Restaurant, 1944

by:
jtracy
June 4, 2016

Mr. John Camichos and his wife, Geneva Camichos, are pictured center with The Southland Restaurant waitresses in this 1944 photo.

Listen as their son, Pano John Camichos, talks about his father's life in Orlando, family in Volos, Greece: LISTEN Part I (17:30), and the Orlando Relief Effort to save Volos: LISTEN PART II (12:48) in these excerpts from an oral history interview on February 20, 2015. 

(Text highlights from audio recording.)

Then just prior to the war breaking out my father repurchased The Ritz Cafe from the owners that had it at that time and that was Langston. His daughters were high school classmates of mine, but he and his partner sold the restaurant back to my father and my father changed the name to Southland Restaurant. And he operated that until 1947.

Now at that point prior to my dad buying it back, Langston had expanded that restaurant to twice its physical floor space. when my dad came back he decided that was way too much room to utilize, to serve properly. So he partitioned off part of it. And the northern part of that facility was square footage wise about the same as his main restaurant. And he held it as a banquet room essentially because of the war having broken out at that point. His neighbor to the north side of his building by the way, his address at The Ritz Cafe and The Southland Restaurent was 13 North Orange Avenue.

The Marine Room

His neighbors immediately north of him on the corner of Wall Street and Orange was Jack Halloway's Package Store and Lounge. Jack Halloway by the way, in case people do not know it, was the founder of ABC Liquor. That space that I was talking about that my dad partitioned off during the weekend because of the overflow of the military that were coming into Orlando at the time. Jack used that facility as his overflow for the lounge. They had a dance floor in there and a bandstand. They had a window that they had cut through the wall so they had direct access to the bar so the waiters and waitresses could get drinks and serve them there. And that facility was known as The Marine Room because Jack had decorated it in a marine motif with fish and stuff around...

The Southland Restaurant

Well, in 1947, the people that owned the Rock Building which that building was known as at the time, and by the way, that little two story structure in La Belle Fur Company was upstairs on the second floor. They demolished that building and built what is now the existing building. So my dad in 1948, when they reopened, occupied a much smaller restaurant in there which he still continued to call The Southland Restaurant. And he operated that facility until 1952 when he finally closed the restaurant up for financial reasons....

Photo Courtesy of the Camichos Family Archives

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