"He wanted to set up and place where ladies and gentlemen could be comfortable together," said his son, George, Jr. "But eventually, all the politicians would come to the Union Club. It was just probably our sort of thing."
After all, the names are somewhat similar. Politics and Politis almost go together on their own. Only the letter "c" is missing between the two. So it was only natural that politicians would flock to Politis' joint.
Eventually, the elder Politis moved his business out of Hoboken and to Weehawken, where he opened a restaurant on 48th Street and Boulevard East, inside a majestic Tudor home overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
But when developers made plans to build the Galaxy Towers in nearby Guttenberg in the late 1970s, the elder Politis wanted to capitalize on the renaissance of the Palisades.
"I think the Galaxy is what lured us to Guttenberg," said the younger Politis. "He saw that hi-rise community being built and decided that it's where we had to go."
So in 1977, George Politis, Sr. opened the self-named restaurant, GP's, located on 69th Street in Guttenberg, just a block away from the Galaxy Towers.
Over the years, the Politis family, George and Patricia, and their son, George, welcomed countless people to their tiny restaurant. Pat Politis was once featured on "Live with Regis and Kathy Lee," serving the hosts her famous shrimp scampi. The family even prepared food for Frank Sinatra and President Ronald Reagan, when Reagan visited Hoboken in the early 1980s.
For 30 years, it's also been the favorite eatery of Hudson County's premier politicians.
North Bergen Mayor and State Senator Nicholas Sacco is found there constantly. So is West New York Mayor Silverio "Sal" Vega. Even Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy makes a point of coming to GP's on a regular basis.
"It's amazing how people find us," said the younger Politis, who now runs the restaurant since his father's passing six years ago. "We're on a little dead-end street. We don't have parking. We have no right to make it for 30 years. But we're always a part of the community and I think the politicians appreciate that. We put a lot of emphasis on the community."
It now can be the site for some political tension, because Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and Congressman Albio Sires also frequent GP's and could very well run into political foes Sacco and Vega at any given time.
Sacco said that he enjoys going to GP's regularly.
"It's one of my favorite restaurants and one of the best around," Sacco said. "There's a friendly environment. It's just a place where a lot of people enjoy going. It just happens to be that a lot of the people are politicians. I'm just glad to go there, because whenever I do, I see friends."
Politis realizes that there have probably been a few influential meetings involving the local movers and shakers that have been held between bowls of pasta.
"I'm sure," Politis said. "I like to consider ourselves as the 'Geneva of Hudson County.' Instead of leaving their guns, they can leave their bad taste at the door and enter at their own risk. We're very lucky to get all the different politicians. It's really remarkable."
Politis said that he's enjoyed the 30-year run. The restaurant recently had a grand celebration to honor the 30th anniversary, with Sacco, Vega and Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna on hand for the festivities.
"You want to know what keeps me going? It's so much fun for me," Politis said. "I have a great passion for people and a great passion for food. It's a great area to be in. It's been a joy and a blessing to be in Guttenberg for so long. The people are wonderful."
When George Politis Jr. was younger, he was born and raised in Weehawken, but just recently moved with his wife, Tami, and daughter, Adriana, to North Bergen. He attended military school on Long Island and thought about attending college, but the lure of the family business brought him home.
"I went to work with Mom and Dad," Politis said. "I loved to get my hands on the business." From time to time, Politis will hop into the kitchen and whip up some meals.
"I still definitely have my hands in the food," he said. "I jump back into the kitchen every now and then and cook something. Some things never change."
After 30 years, what does Politis consider to be his favorite dish?
"Well, our own house Greek salad is a staple," Politis said. "But we also do a good lasagna and we can't make enough meatballs. We have a meatball appetizer that people die for."
To learn more about GP's Restaurant, log on to www.gpsrestaurant.com.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org