The Bright Star Restaurant opened as a 12 seat bar in 1907 in Bessemer, Alabama. Quickly outgrowing that location, the restaurant moved twice more in 1910 and 1913 to larger restaurant spots in downtown Bessemer. Finally in 1915 the restaurant landed in its final location as anchor tenant in the Realty Building. The original dining room of the restaurant is known for its tile floors and hand painted murals which have been renovated and remain in existence today.
In 1925 two of Tom Bonduris’ cousins from the same village in Greece, Peter and Bill Koikos, bought an interest in the restaurant.
As the decades progressed, The Bright Star focused on its core markets serving the citizens of Bessemer and the surrounding communities of Hueytown, Pleasant Grove and Fairfield; the residents in these cities were employed by the coal, iron ore and steel making industries. The restaurant remained true to its roots serving a Southern style “meat and three” lunch and a more upscale steak and seafood menu in the evenings.
In 1960, Bill Koikos bought out one of his partners, his brother Pete Koikos. Upon Pete’s retirement, his son Jimmy Koikos joined the business. In 1968 after the retirement of another owner, Gus Sarris, Bill’s younger son Nicky became partners with his Father and Jimmy.
Jimmy and Ncky assumed full control of the restaurant in 1974 and embarked on expansion plans which included new dining rooms; the “1907” room in 1978, the Dixie and Green Rooms in 1986, the Anastasia Room (named after mother Anastasia Koikos) and Bar in 2001.
Due to the general growth of restaurant dining in the 70s and 80s and the consistent quality of Service and cuisine, The Bright Star grew into an iconic landmark in the Southeast.
In 2007, the Bright Star celebrated its 100 year anniversary with a day long celebration honoring guests and employees.
In 2010, Jimmy recruited his cousin Andreas Anastassakis to join the management team at The Bright Star to work alongside his niece Anastasai “Stacey” Cocoris Craig who joined the business in 2001.
Jimmy remained actively involved in the business until his passing in 2019. Current ownership resides with Nicky Koikos, Andreas Annastassakis and Stacey Craig who can be found actively working in the restaurant today.