About 1906, a little store was located in the first block of East Main Street in Xenia. This was a candy and confectionary store owned by Clarence Grice. The little store sold homemade candy and ice cream to the delight of local customers; however the owner sold the store to Thomas Viachos who by 1911, was declaring bankruptcy and passed the store onto James Revelos.
Apparently the little store had not had a name, or perhaps the previous owner used his own name for identification. When Mr. Revelos took over the little store he gave it a name. He though the name Candy Kitchen described the business very well.
Candy and confections were still being sold at the little store in 1920 when the ownership again changed hands. James Heliotes and Peter Staikos owned the store at that time.
James Malavazos came to Xenia from Portsmouth about that time looking for a business opportunity. He and his uncle John Malavazos entered the partnership by purchasing a half interest from Pater Staikos. Thus they were partners with Mr. Heliotes.
The Malavazos boys thought that the store would be more beneficial if they added other items to the menu in addition to the ice cream and candy. They began to offer sandwiches and this proved to be such a success that the home-made candy was no longer made and sold.
Just a few years later, in 1924, Mr. Heliotes decided to sell his share of the business and so the Malavazos family became the sole owners.
John decided to retire and so Cousin Charles became the co-owner. The two cousins operated that store in partnership for the next thirty-two years.
Once again, the business name was changed, this time it was the Xenia Candy Kitchen. However, the store was locally known as “The Greeks” because of the long association with Greek owners.
An advertisement from June 1923 read as follows:
“Whey! But it’s hot! Guess I better stop in and get an Ice Cream Soda or Sundae – The Xenia Candy Kitchen.
“They certainly know how to dish up the best Soda, Sundae or special drink in town. And the crushed fruit flavors they use – Oh Boy You’ll want more. And the Ice Cream – it can’t be beat. It gives you a real cooling off.
“Prices? Most reasonable. Look these over: Special for Saturday and Sunday only:
“Plain Cream and Ices, quart – 40 cents.
“Fresh Fruits in season and Nut Creams, quart – 50 cents.
“Fountain Dainties from 10 cents and up.
“Lunches served at all times.”
The interior of the store changed several times over the years. Mirrored walls and round tables with chairs provided a charming atmosphere for enjoying the ice cream delights during the 1920’s. In 1931, the interior was remodeled with a long enclosed counter for confections on one side of the building with a counter and several chairs on the other for customers.
During the next remodeling, booths were added and lighting upgraded.
The owners realized that if they stayed open until the movies let out, customers would drop in. They stayed open until midnight so that couples who had enjoyed a double feature at the Xenia Theater or the Bijou could stop for a late night snack. High School football and basketball fans also enjoyed the later hours.
Nick Malavazos who eventually shared the family’s love of providing good food at Nick’s Restaurant told about how he and his friends loved going to the Candy Kitchen. They liked to “hang our” there after school. He said that six kids would go into the store and order two cokes. Of course, they also asked for six straws, so everyone could have a few sips.
However, some things must come to an end, and so in November 1965, the beloved Xenia Candy Kitchen closed for good. James Malavazos had been associated with the restaurant for 45 years when he finally retired. The store was missed by many residents who had over the years, spent a great deal of time at the Candy Kitchen.
This story has nothing to do with the Candy Kitchen, but it is interesting. Ray Higgins reported in one his “Cracker Barrel” columns this story about another restaurant which was at one time in town. The Manhattan Restaurant was located in downtown Xenia in the middle 20th century. The restaurant’s cook had a pet lamb. The cook liked to bring the lamb to work with him and the lamb (in spite of health department rules) would stay in the kitchen with the cook.
However, one day, the lamb decided he wanted to see different scenery and ran through the restaurant and out the front door. The cook, who usually wore house slippers while in the kitchen, took off after the disobedient lamb, house slippers falling off his feet one at a time as he went. He apparently achieved the goal of catching the lamb but there is no information about whether either was allowed in the kitchen again. The restaurant closed many years ago, but not because of the incident.
Xenia has always been noted for hospitality. The Xenia Candy Kitchen provided not only good food and ice cream, but a wonderful place to visit with family and friends.
Joan Baxter is a Greene County resident and long-time historical columnist.