On this date in 1967, the 101 Ranch House ran this ad in the Long Beach Independent.
The 101 Ranch House originally used a Western motif for its branding back in its first two decades, but a subtle Greek influence slowly began to dominate the place during the sixties due to new ownership. The restaurant started serving Mavrodafni wine, and Greek cuisine was introduced to a special Monday night menu in addition to the usual 101 Ranch House fare of American style seafood and prime steak.
Host Bill Smyrniotis had co-owned and run 101 Ranch House with his Greek immigrant brothers since 1963, George, Steve, and Chris, but he bought them out four years later. Running the restaurant on their own, he and his young wife, Toula (from Argus, Greece), must have decided to just go for broke and fully embrace a new Greek identity for the restaurant.
During the last half of 1967, 101 Ranch House advertised a Grecian Room and provided Greek entertainment most nights of the week. In 1968, it was briefly renamed the Grecian Inn, but closed a few months later, ending this brief experiment of bringing a little Greek culture to “Mayberry by the Sea.” The restaurant became the 101 Ranch House again and operated under that name until the mid-seventies, but its heyday had passed.
But on that Thursday night in August forty-nine years ago, the 101 Ranch House’s ultimate fate was still in the future. Diners hungry for a little fun could look forward to “a delightful evening of entertainment and dining” presented by hosts Bill and Zoula Smyrniotis. Appearing twice nightly was Tasos SofoPoulos, the world-renowned bouzouki player who had played on the movie soundtrack for Zorba The Greek, and his famous orchestra (actually a quartet according to reviews).
If that wasn’t enough, more Greek music was performed by George Geirgiadas and his cordovan accordion, a Turkish drummer named Zeki, and Nitza Villas, the famous singer from Athens.
Finally, sex appeal was provided by Dara, the fabulous Oriental belly dancer from Israel, who had twelve colorful, but brief costumes and whose muscle control was, according to Tedd Thomey of the Long Beach Independent, “remarkable.”
– Michael Dobkins
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