Potato Shak

Yes

Our City, Our Story

E14: Potato Shak

Peter Avramopoulos arrived in Rockford, Illinois in the late 1960s. His father, seeking prosperity, had brought his whole family from Greece by boat. Pete’s prosperity came in the form of the opportunity to do well for himself and his immediate family. As owner of the Potato Shak, the second restaurant that the Avramopoulos family has owned, he’s created a destination for many local residents. The first, Pete's Snack Shack. was lost in the 1980s Midway Theater fire.

Pete's older brother George Avramopoulos, with his mild manner and overall energy for life, is one of the reasons so many people frequent the Potato Shak. He's the type of guy who wants to shake your hand, ask how you are and is genuinely happy to see you. He engages in conversation with all who enter, but this story becomes truly unique when polite conversation turns into reality and becomes a dream fulfilled.

Ken Johnson, a retired airline pilot, has been introducing people to flying for years. It’s a personal point of pride for him to bring wonder to the eyes of people who have never flown above Rockford, Illinois. To fly about our city at 3,000 feet brings about a true sense of wonder.

This past year, Ken took the guys up in the air on his own offer and since their original flight, George has been flying with him many Tuesdays. There's a glimmer in George's eye when he talks of flying; Ken has truly made the dreams of George, our beloved George, a reality.

  • Directed & Produced By
    Pablo Korona
  • Music
    Daniel James McMahon
  • Audio
    Zach Staas
  • Special Thanks
    Chicago Rockford International Airport
    Juanita Hickerson
    Ken Johnson

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We tell the stories that if you live in Rockford, it makes you glad that you do. The stories that if you’re from Rockford, they make you proud to be. The stories that if you’ve never been to Rockford, they make you want to come here.

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These stories are a response to the national attention Rockford, Illinois received in 2011: from Forbes, #9 Most Dangerous in US; from the Wall Street Journal, #10th Most Dangerous in US; New York Times, Portraits From a Job-Starved City; and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show portrayed Rockford as a wasteland littered with chain fast food restaurants.

Our City, Our Story

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