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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bessemer in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Bright Star / Koikos Restaurant

“Alabama's Oldest Restaurant” / “An American Classic”

 
 
Bright Star Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita C. Nyambo, August 26, 2010
1. Bright Star Marker
Inscription.
Bright Star
In 1907, Greek immigrant Tom Bonduris invested his savings and opened a small cafe with only a horseshoe shaped bar at First Avenue and 21st Street in Bessemer, Alabama. Outgrowing three locations, the Bright Star moved to this site in 1915, and introduced patrons to a new dining atmosphere. The interior of the restaurant has remained true to its 1915 glory, with handpainted murals on the walls, a marble-tiled floor, and a couple of private curtained booths. Major alterations and renovations of the premise and kitchen were completed in 1966. The dining room was expanded in 1978 with the addition of the “1907” room. Another expansion of the Bright Star occurred in 1985 with the addition of the “Dixie” and the “Green” rooms. Throughout the years, the Bright Star's reputation and longevity excelled because of one family's continued commitment to outstanding service and superior cuisine, and the dedication of loyal staff members.

Koikos Restaurant
Family patriarchs Bill and Pete Koikos immigrated from Greece in 1923, and two years later purchased an ownership interest in the Bright Star from Tom Bonduris, who opened it in 1907. In 1966, Bill's two sons, Jim and Nick Koikos, became owners and operators of the business. Since
Koikos Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita C. Nyambo, August 26, 2010
2. Koikos Marker
opening, the Bright Star experienced remarkable growth, expanding from a 25-seat cafe to a 300-seat restaurant, all without sacrificing quality. The Bright Star has garnered numerous awards, including being listed since 2005 in the “100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die” brochure created by the Alabama Tourism Department. In 2010, it was honored by the James Beard Foundation with the America Classics Award. The America Classics Award is given to five restaurants a year with "timeless appeal, beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community-from small, regional restaurants, watering holes and shacks, to lunch counters and down-home eateries that have carved out a special place on the American culinary landscape.”
 
Erected 2010 by The Alabama Tourism Department.
 
Location. 33° 24.148′ N, 86° 57.219′ W. Marker is in Bessemer, Alabama, in Jefferson County. Marker is on 19th Street N, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 304 19th St., Bessemer AL 35020, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Doughboy Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Sweet Home / Henry W. Sweet (approx. 0.3 miles away);
Bright Star Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita C. Nyambo, August 26, 2010
3. Bright Star Marker
Looking south on 19th Street
Hosea Holcombe (approx. 0.9 miles away); Union Baptist Church And Cemetery (approx. 1.9 miles away); Lynching In America / The Lynching of William Miller (approx. 1.9 miles away); Canaan Baptist Church (approx. 4½ miles away); Ross Bridge (approx. 5.1 miles away); Overseer’s House (approx. 5.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bessemer.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Bright Star Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita C. Nyambo, August 26, 2010
4. Bright Star Marker
View from intersection
Bright Star Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita C. Nyambo, August 26, 2010
5. Bright Star Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 26, 2010, by Dodson M. Curry of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 993 times since then and 69 times this year. Last updated on May 28, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 26, 2010, by Dodson M. Curry of Birmingham, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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