In 1936, Mike Dezagiacomo, then 23, bought the restaurant and candy store from Mr. Vihos, a Greek man, and would continue to run the business until December 1962 when the restaurant closed. It was a different day then, Betty, one of their youngest daughters remembers. It was a great gathering spot for the youth in town and a popular spot for former teachers like Matt Breski who used to talk about his days at the restaurant to his class. New immigrants to the town even came to the restaurant to help them learn a little English. Vihos Sweets sold more than just the sweets but was a full-fledged restaurant. It stood where Shoppers Drugmart stands today on Commercial Street.
Mike used to make his own candy to sell at the restaurant. He made sponge and peanut brittle as well as cream pies. He started making Easter Bunnies and other Easter candies which were very popular at the time called Vihos chocolate novelties. Mike sold the chocolate creations all over the island, all originating from a little restaurant in Glace Bay. He took orders from candy stores all over the island.
Mike and his wife Christine, married in 1940 and became a team in the restaurant. They would work extra hours on the backshift after the restaurant closed for the night to make those Easter candies. Their children would do all the wrapping and decorating of the treats. It was a family affair.
The young people in town used to go to the restaurant to eat their lunch. It was a place for them to go and hang out. The Donkin Bus used to stop outside the restaurant. In the winter time when the Donkin bus stopped running, many times the Dezagiacomo’s had over night guests as they just lived right behind the restaurant and Christine used to invite stranded passengers to their house for the night. Vihos was a social gathering spot. This restaurant was a spot for friends to get together, unparalled by any such restaurant today. There was a community atmosphere that let you stay beyond the unspoken 30 minute time limit that permeates the restaurant industry today. In addition to Easter candies, Valentine’s Day was another popular holiday for the store as everyone would come for the Valentine’s candy hearts. People still talk about the good memories they had at the restaurant. My father for one has fond memories of gathering at the restaurant. You would go there for a pop or a soda. Everybody gathered there and “I’ll meet you at Vihos” was a common phrase. There was even a Jukebox where you could play your favorite songs.
In 1957 or 1958, Mike bought a soft ice cream machine at the restaurant and it was a big hit. It was the first of its kind in the town. It was shortly after buying the soft ice cream machine that Mike made a few trips to Halifax and was inspired by the new Drive In concept type of restaurant. He rented some land on the Grand Lake Road on the Sydney Glace Bay Highway and the first of three Tasty Treat’s was born. Mike later bought the land. Vihos Sweets closed after they opened the Tasty Treat Drive In located at Grand Lake Road, Sydney in 1960. The first Tasty Treat trucks appeared in 1963. The end of the Vihos Sweets era ushered in a new era- young people from the mid-sixties to today have grown up with fond memories of trips to Tasty Treat or catching a glimpse of the truck coming down the street.
If you have a story to tell or know someone with a story to tell about Glace Bay or growing up in Glace Bay, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[amazon_link asins=’B004I6DFRM,055327757X,0553279726′ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’myglacebayOf-20′ marketplace=’CA’ link_id=’bdc96caa-244f-11e7-b3c9-252066c04d41′]