For four decades, Peter and Eva Daflos have been slinging pies for the people of Maple Ridge.
But last weekend, they officially hung up their aprons.
“We were newlyweds when we started,” Eva recalled last week.
The couple took over the reigns of Jim’s Pizza on Dec. 1, 1979, when the city had only a handful of pizza shops.
“I was in the restaurant business for about nine years before that managing other places,” said Peter. “It was natural for me to have my own place.”
Peter, 69, and Eva, 67, moved to Maple Ridge in the late ’70s.
“I just got married and I wasn’t going to move around anymore … it was time to settle down,” Peter said.
After 40 years, the pair is handing over the keys to the new owners of the restaurant, at 11952 – 224th St.
Peter and Eva recall lines out the door when the shop was just a one-level storefront, forcing them to eventually expand into the upstairs – formally an office space.
Over the years, the space has served as a movie set, wedding venue and party headquarters on election night.
“You have your good and bad days, but overall it was just amazing,” said Eva.
Saturday was their last day as business owners of the restaurant beside Memorial Peace Park.
Their recipe for longevity didn’t require a secret ingredient. Peter attributes their popularity to high-quality food.
After closing up shop for the final time, the couple was most looking forward to spending time with family.
“We have a little darling grandson and we want to spend time with him,” said Eva. “With both of us working, we can’t see him as much as we want.”
“I want to take my wife everywhere she wants to go,” Peter added.
The pair will be around the shop in the coming weeks to help the new owners transition, then jet off to visit family in their native Greece – something they haven’t done in nine years.
“For the last 10, 20 years, my only day off is Christmas Day,” said Peter.
The couple has intended to retire for years.
“This place was almost sold a few times in the last three years, and then people couldn’t come up with the financing,” explained Peter.
Over the years, Peter has had two hip replacements, both knees replaced and a shoulder replacement.
“It’s a family-operated business, especially for my husband. It’s work every day,” said Eva. “I take Sunday off, he works every day and it’s taken a toll on him health-wise.”
After growing accustom to working seven days a week, Peter said he isn’t short on things to fill his time.
“It’s not going to be an adjustment for me. I have so much to do at home,” he said.
“We’d like to say a big thank you to our customers for preferring our food and keeping us in business for as long as they did,” Eva said.
“[We] appreciate the community – the people, are very nice people and we’ll miss them.”