“A Family Tradition in a Unique Atmosphere”

Pete and Bill Koikos

Since 1907, The Bright Star restaurant has been serving generations of customers its specialty Greek- style snapper and steak, signature seafood gumbo, luncheon specials, and famous pies. Located in Bessemer, Alabama, the restaurant has a regional following and draws patrons from throughout the Southeast as well as nearby Birmingham. The Bright Star’s exceptional longevity results from one family’s continued commitment to excellent food and service. Family patriarchs Bill and Pete Koikos emigrated from Greece in 1923 and two years later purchased an ownership interest in the restaurant from founder Tom Bonduris. Since 1966, Bill’s two sons, Jim and Nick Koikos have owned and operated the business.

The Bright Star has experienced remarkable growth, expanding from a 25 seat cafe to a 330 seat restaurant, all without sacrificing quality. Over the past ten years, the Bright Star has consistently been rated among the top three restaurants in Birmingham by Birmingham News readers. In addition the Restaurant was recognized in the United States Congressional Record in 1996 by Senator Howell Heflin for its status as an Alabama landmark and its service to the community.

The Koikos Family circa 1947
In 1907, a small cafe with only a horseshoe-shaped bar opened its
doors to the bustling community of Bessemer, Alabama.
The Bright Star Original Horseshoe Counter

In 1907, a small cafe with only a horseshoe-shaped bar opened its doors to the bustling community of Bessemer, Alabama. Outgrowing three locations, the Bright Star moved to its present site in 1914, and patrons were introduced to a new dining atmosphere. Ceiling fans, tile floors, mirrored and marbled walls – most of which exist today – reflect the style of that era. Murals painted by an itinerant European artist are another interesting feature of the past. Major alterations and renovations of the premises and kitchen were completed in 1966, and the dining room was expanded in 1978 with the addition of the “1907” room. Because of its growing popularity as well as the need for additional banquet space, the final expansion of the Bright Star occurred in 1985 with the addition of the “Dixie” and the “Green” rooms.

The Bright Star’s reputation has thrived because of special attention to two areas integral to the success of any restaurant – outstanding service and superior cuisine. Outstanding service is reflected in the consistent hard work of the two owners of the restaurant, Jim and Nick Koikos. On any given day, one or both of the owners will be on the premises overseeing the lunch and dinner shifts. Their hard work and consistency, along with the leadership of Chef Ross Daidone, is reflected in the 90 member staff, whose average length of service exceeds 7 years.

Waitresses in the 1940's with Bill Koikos
For over ninety years, the Bright Star has emphasized customer satisfaction.

he Bright Star’s dedication to superior cuisine is reflected in its commitment to use only the finest ingredients for each dish. Fresh seafood transported from the Gulf coast daily, the finest steaks available, and fresh vegetables and produce are customary on the luncheon and a la carte menus. Broiled Greek-style Snapper, Beef Tenderloin-Greek Style, and Broiled Chicken Greek Style are specialties of the House. Other signature dishes include combination Seafood Gumbo, Lobster and Crabmeat Au-Gratin, and the Broiled Seafood Platter.

For over ninety years, the Bright Star has emphasized customer satisfaction. Patrons from all over the South deserve and enjoy good food and quick service in a hospitable, pleasant atmosphere. These goals have not changed since 1907, and the Koikos brothers, as well as the entire Bright Star staff, look forward to serving their customers in the 21st century.

The Bright Star Restaurant Today
Bright Star Family receving award for 100 year Anniversary from Govenor Bob Riley in 2007
The Bright Star Restaurant Today