The well-known Jimmy Kyritsis, owner of the iconic Buzbey Grill on Three Anchor Bay Road, is hanging up his apron after 36 years.
Jimmy bought the space in 1982 from colleague and old friend Bastian van Stenis and his wife Beryl who had started Buzbey Grill. While he never felt the need for a name change, he made the grill house his own.
He explained how different things were in the 1980s compared to now, with patrons spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants. “It was very different in the 1980s and the 1990s. In the 1980s Table Bay was partially bush still, the City Bowl had maybe six restaurants, the city centre had three open at night, until the V&A Waterfront opened.”
The Buzbey Grill became part of Sea Point’s history and so has Jimmy. He is well known to the people of Sea Point and surrounds, especially for his mouth-watering steaks, tender calamari and humour.
Jimmy has formed close connections with his customers which will be big shoes to fill for new owners of the space, Gabi and Kyle Knight. They have renamed the space The Shop.
Gabi and Kyle, who were also customers and are professional chefs, approached Jimmy about buying the space from him and it had taken two years for him to decide to sell.
Buzbey Grill was run under the new owners for three months before changing the name. Jimmy worked closely with them for a while to give them an introduction to regular customers.
Gabi said it was a challenging time for them as regular customers would come in and ask for Jimmy. “We thought we could come in and do our own food but the regulars they want their steaks, so we will continue with steaks and introduce some other dishes.”
Not many changes have taken place since Buzbey Grill became The Shop except for minor decor changes, most of the equipment is original, the setup remained the same, some of the staff members have been kept and most importantly, a few dishes such as the steaks, the seafood and the famous grilled calamari finished off in garlic butter and chilli sauce will still be served.
Kyle and Gabi now cater for vegetarians and chicken has been added to the menu.
“Jimmy should be recognised for his service to Sea Point, we are moving forward with the same mindset as Jimmy: good service and good food at a good price,” said Kyle.
Now, at the age of 78, Jimmy said he would like to live a “normal” life after working endless hours behind the hot grill, His idea of a normal life? Swimming, surfing, travelling and doing long walks on the beach. “I stood here (behind the grill) for 15 years and I did it seven days a week, closing just after one in the morning.”