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Coco’s Then…

Renfrew Restaurant with Quality, Quantity & Taste: Coco’s Beginnings

Our Story

Most locals know about us already; but for those who don’t and wish to hear a restaurant story that spans over 55 years, then get your coffee and sit down for a short read!

As far back as we know, Coco Jarry’s began as The Cosmopolitan Restaurant with owner Ludwig Heimer in 1964:

Photographic Peek into the Past: Ludwig Heimer, owner of the Cosmopolitan Restaurant on Raglan Street, is seen with Miss Dixie Lee who created customers on opening day of Dixie Lee Fried Chicken at the restaurant on Thursday, Oct. 15, 1951.

Renfrew Mercury, 1951.

After Ludwig…

In the late 60’s-early 70’s, two Greek men and their wives (sisters), Nick & Helen Antonakis and Teddy & Mary Chochos, took over operations.

A few years after that, two brothers (also Greek), John (wife, Mary) and Chris Plagakis, bought it and changed the name to Jim’s Restaurant, which quickly became a local favourite. We still have people come in today with stories of shopping downtown stores and treating themselves to Jim’s fries & gravy!

John and Mary Plagakis had two girls, Tina & Sandra. Sandra Plagakis is a Morning Show announcer at Ottawa radio station, KissFM.

Fun Fact!

Coco Jarry’s Restaurant Origins

Nick Karavidas grew up in a small mountain village in Greece and immigrated to Montreal, Canada, when he was 10 years old. As soon as he could, he started working. Nick’s talents naturally lead him to the restaurant industry, where he’s been for over 40 years.

In the early 80’s, destiny found him in Renfrew, Ontario. In 1984, Nick had saved enough money to purchase Jim’s. A year later, he invested in the property next door (a children’s clothing store at the time, called Busy Bee) where he knocked out a wall, renovated it into pub and registered for a liquor license. He called it, Thursday’s.

Jim’s Restaurant downtown Renfrew

Nick operated the restaurant under the name of Jim’s for several years until 1990 when he changed it to Coco Jarry’s, bringing a little tropical flair to Renfrew. Later, he changed the name of Thursday’s to The Thirsty Parrot Cocktail Bar to match the tropical feel of the restaurant side.

Coco Jarry’s Restaurant Now (Pre-Pandemic)

It’s been 35 years now that Nick’s owned and operated Coco Jarry’s. It’s changed a lot, besides the name, since the days when it was known as Jim’s Restaurant.

Today, we have two dining rooms (some have said it’s Renfrew’s finest), as well as the lounge/restaurant where we have booths and a funky stain-glass mural promoting our “Thirsty Thursday’s.”

On the bar-side, we feature a fireplace and comfy chairs to sit by while you sip on your hot drinks.

In the summer, the place really opens up when our capacity doubles with an expansive, attractive patio along the front and side alley to enjoy your cold drinks.

Keeping Up With the Times: Gluten-Free & Vegetarian/Vegan Menu Options

We’re also happy to say we’re keeping up with the times. Specifically, more guests are coming in making us aware of their food intolerances. On tap, we offer a gluten-free option (at the moment, Bud Light which is a rice beer) and the kitchen always does their best to adjust ingredients to suit food choices.

Come in and give us a try. Whether on your own, with a special someone or a group, we’ll do our best to please.

If you have a very large group, we’ve held seminars in our dining rooms, welcomed sports teams after their tournaments, corporate events and hosted a variety of special events, such stags & does, wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, anniversaries, going away parties and charity events.

UPDATE (March 17th): All group bookings are postponed until further notice.

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