George and Mary Georges retired from the restaurant business five years ago.
They had owned and operated Danny’s Deli in downtown Cleveland since 1978.
The couple moved to Florida and enjoyed the sweet life.
“We were retired for five years, then we got bored,” said Mary Georges.
So they moved back to Northeast Ohio and opened another Danny’s Deli in Lakewood.
The restaurant — with its legendary corned beef sandwiches — opened its doors on Detroit Avenue this month in the space most recently occupied by .
After she moved to the US in 1965, Mary returned to her native Lebanon where she met George Georges in 1972. The pair moved back to Northeast Ohio and opened the first Danny's Deli.
Their son Daniel took the family’s restaurant concept to Columbus in 2006, but he sold the restaurant to his uncle.
The family is no stranger to opening restaurants.
Mary Georges’ brother, Ralph Abdallah, started it all when he moved from Lebanon to the US in 1956.
He bought a deli in downtown Cleveland, then changed the name to Slyman’s. The rest of the family soon followed suit — from Lebanon to Cleveland success.
Throughout the years, there’s been the Superior Restaurant, Johnnie’s Deli & Restaurant, Tony’s Deli & Restaurant, Sammy’s Deli, Danny’s Deli, , and Ned’s. Many of the restaurants have been sold to other family members throughout the years.
In short, if there’s a long-time purveyor of deli meats in the Cleveland area, chances are that the owners are somehow related to George and Mary Georges.
What’s the family secret?
There are a few.
“You’ve got to treat people the way you want to be treated,” said Mary Georges, still with her thick Lebanese accent. “And you’ve got to feed people the way you want to be fed.”
Hard work and generous portions don’t hurt either, she said with a smile.
Family friend Judy Hilow — whose father-in-law helped to bankroll Slyman's more than 50 years ago — said she's proud of the Georges.
"These are amazing people," she said. "We're so lucky to have them in Lakewood."
Mary Georges said the couple isn’t looking to retire anytime soon, but added that if they do, Danny’s Deli will likely stay in the family.
She’s got a nephew in mind.
The couple still wakes up to begin working at 4 a.m. each day, and they typically work until about 3 p.m.
It doesn’t take much to motivate them.
“It’s all about love,” said Mary Georges. “When you have love, you have everything.”
Danny's Deli is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.