This is a picture of me and Mr. ‘C’, George Couchell, founder of Showmars Restaurants. He is one of Charlotte’s most successful entrepreneurs. His origin is Greek, so what does he do? Why, he runs a very successful chain of restaurants. That’s what. 

George came to the United States with his parents to escape the ravages of WWII. Germany invaded Greece and as a child, George saw the Nazi’s burn 450 houses. Because of this, the Couchells made the journey to freedom, and became citizens of the U.S. Early on, George learned the importance of a strong work ethic. He graduated from East Mecklenburg High School and went on to Duke University. After a 2 year stint in the Navy, George found a hero named Colonel Harlan Sanders. He said to himself: I can do that too, and in 1967, opened Mr. C’s Chicken in Charlotte.

His dreams weren’t finished. He envisioned a chain of restaurants called Showmars and was the first to create fast casual dining. The first Showmars opened in 1982 and it wasn’t easy — many 15 hour days. He told me, during one 3 year growth period, he never sat down to eat a meal…always a Greek on the go. 

George recently turned 80 and still does his thing well. He treated me to his “Grecian Roast Chicken.” He is the consummate salesman. He smiles and talks to all the guests. He’s the “Toots Shore of Charlotte.” And that Grecian chicken was fall off the bone, juicy delicious. Is that a commercial? We never stop.

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