Straight shooter rings in 40 years

Two generations have kept Billiards Academy and Sports Bar rolling

A couple of things will never change at the Billiards Academy and Sports Bar, perched atop the Tim Hortons on the corner of Danforth and Logan avenues.

Take the black rotary wall-mounted telephone that’s hung on a pillar by the tables since day one, 40 years ago on April 1, when the pool hall opened. Apparently wives used to call their husbands at that phone to see when they were coming home. The 1977 Citizen wind-up wall clock is another relic that will always stay — it’s chimed every hour on the hour for over three decades.

Those are the two things she’d never get rid of when she takes over the business, says Marianthi Pitsadiotis, who’s worked at the pool hall her dad opened when she was 15.

Andreas Pitsadiotis says he went into the pool hall business in the late 1960s in Guelph, Ontario, after emigrating from Greece. At the time, he wasn’t able to speak English, but all he really needed to know to run a pool hall, he says, was how to give change. For an entire year, Andreas worked 16 hours a day and slept on a couch in the back of the pool hall, never going out and saving enough money so he could move to Toronto to buy a business.

To be fair, some things have changed at the business he bought in 1971, which had been a pool hall since 1966. The business is no longer open 24 hours like it was in the early days; there are less snooker and more pool tables now; and rather than a sole customer base of Greek men, customers today are a healthy mix of men, women and even families.

At 74, Andreas says he’s too old to run the biz, though he’s still involved in it.

Meanwhile, Marianthi manages the pool hall. Like her dad, whose passion is horse breeding and racing, she says her true calling is outside the business, in the acting field. Still, she’s in discussions with her father over official ownership as she can do her acting by day and manage the bar at night.

“He may be family but business is business,” Marianthi says. “He still has the final say in everything.”

Customers from the very early days still come in. Memories are entrenched here. Both of Marianthi’s siblings met their respective spouses in the pool hall.

“It’s close to our hearts,” she says.


About this article:

By: Kelly Gadzala
Posted: Apr 18 2011 12:13 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto
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