The Makris family history begins in Sparta, Greece in 1928 when Peter Makris, the founder of Pepe’s was born. He was the second oldest of six children, and had to leave school after sixth grade to work on the family farm. It was common for the oldest children to leave school in order to help support the family. His wife, Bessie, was born in Tripoli, Greece in 1942. Bessie and Peter were married in April of 1963 in Sparta with dreams of coming to America to start a new life and family. They began their journey in Toronto, Canada, in July of 1963. While in Canada, they had two children, Andy and Joanna. They quickly moved the family of four to Baltimore at the end of 1967 where Mr. Makris’ younger brothers already lived. Mr. Makris worked 3 jobs for his brothers trying to support his family and get ahead. He finally decided to make a change, and that’s when he purchased Pepe’s on March 1st, 1979, at the age of fifty.
Pepe’s originally only served breakfast and lunch and was open six days a week. The entire Makris family worked in the restaurant. Andy often had to miss school and miss out on after school activities to help out, not that different from his father working the farm in Greece. In 1981, Andy, brought pizza to the operation and started opening for dinner, business boomed. The family continued to work hard and they were finally able purchase the property where Pepe’s is located at the corner of Falls Road and Lake Avenue. They eventually bought the property next to Pepe’s in 1999.
Tragedy struck the family when Mr. Makris was murdered on July 3, 2000. Mrs. Makris and her two children continued to work and grow the business in honor of her husband. The restaurant underwent a full renovation in 2012. Mrs. Makris retired in 2016, leaving Andy and Joanna to run the restaurant. Today, Andy continues to run the restaurant in memory of his father and in the spirit of family.