Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Famous burger joint draws a worldly crowd

  • Print

‘LESS talking, more working!" says spunky waitress Daisy to chatty boss John Calogeris who, along with with cousins John and Gus Razos, owns the world-famous VJ’s Drive-In burger joint on Main Street near Broadway.

Since a mention in the Lonely Planet travel guide, Calogeris feeds tourists from all over the world who line up for spicy Greek burgers with cardboard boxes of large, crispy fries. The 47-year-old, in his trademark bandana and chef shirt, inherited a love of the food biz from papa Nick (born Spiros), who was involved with many Winnipeg restaurants such as The Manhattan, the Original Food Bar, BBQ Restaurant, and Kit Kat Grill.

"He was a true Zorba the Greek character," says Calogeris of his dad, who fathered him at 71 and lived to be 91. Well-known VJ's customers include Mayor Sam Katz, Burton Cummings, George Reznik, Hymie Weinstein, Gary Doer, Steve Ashton, Al Golden, and Garth Steek plus scores of people who work in the area. "ALL the prosecutors come here," boasts Calogeris. Nothing like chili to create a fire in the belly.

* * *

THE PIECEMEAL PEAMEAL REVIVAL: Hot bacon, anyone? John Scoles' Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club served up 10 pounds of steaming peameal bacon to hungry folks at the packed PPR roots bluegrass, folk, country bash on the weekend. Fourteen different acts played along with the Kitcheneers hosting band. Hot in every sense of the word, musical acts spilled out on the sidewalks to cool off. Some were decked out in old-fashioned costume such as Bobby Stahr, in top hat and tails, and singers Cathy Rayner, Selena Bewsky and Tania Gosselin in flapper dresses with headbands and feathers... Spotted watching the show: King of the six-stringer Brent Parkin; Righteous Ike, an original blues and old rock 'n' roll player; and Jessica Rae Ayre and Amber Nielsen from Sweet Alibi, an up-and-coming roots act about to go into the studio with Mitch Dorge, former drummer with the Crash Test Dummies.

* * *

FOLKLORAMA MIX 'N' MATCH: In Winnipeg -- a multicultural city if there ever was one -- you never know who's going to be staffing what pavilion. Cassidy De Luca, part of the famous Italian De Luca family in Winnipeg, is a youth ambassador at the Brazilian pavilion. How did that happen? Cassidy points at beaming grandpa, hairdresser Vincent De Luca of Mr. Vincent's and Salon of Beauty fame. Vincent De Luca was brought up in Brazil and came to Canada at 18 to go to university. On his arm was Grandma, better known to years of university students as Dr. Rayleen De Luca. "I want to be a psychologist, too,"' says Cassidy, a Grade 10 student... Meire Anne Thorainnson, the animated woman teaching Folklorama "tourists" how to make Brazilian cocktail "caipirinha," is a Brazilian-Canadian married to a man of Icelandic background. "I weel teach you this and then you can get dronk as a skonk," she laughs.

* * *

KID NEEDS ICE: Spotted at the 7-Eleven in Corydon Village: actor/comedian Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall fame, who's been living in the neighbourhood all summer. According to store staff, McDonald was buying ice for a trip to the cabin with his Winnipeg girlfriend. Not that he's been lying around at the lake all summer. Kevin's been making a movie called Keyhole with director Guy Maddin. The cast includes Udo Kier, Jason Patric and Maddin's fave female film star, Isabella Rossellini.

* * *

OLD LEGENDS AND NEW: Spotted catching the last chance to see the Mynarski Memorial Avro Lancaster Mk10 bomber at The Legend Lives show were standup comics Ryan Ash, John David Gordon and Dan Robertson. Out at the Western Canada Aviation Museum, Robertson was also playing roadie, helping his country singer sister Ashley Robertson set up. Entertainment was welcome as the lineup to view the Second World War bomber was long. Ashley's latest single Woman in the White Dress hit No. 1 after only three weeks on the Pan-European Top 100 Chart.

 

Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 474-1116, email maureen.scurfield@winnipegfreepress.com or send mail to The Insider c/o the Winnipeg Free Press at 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 4, 2010 B1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Your cheapskate questions

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you worried Ebola might make its way to Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google