We knew that before the virus was finally through with us, we would have to say goodbye to a number of Omaha’s restaurants. We retained the hope that with time, the proprietors could regroup, rebuild, and reopen. That with enough support, we would find the chefs and staff we’ve grown to love serving in new ways and new restaurants.
Some of our goodbyes, however, cannot be undone.
Bill “Laki” Sgourakis
For nearly four decades, you couldn’t walk into The Greek Islands without encountering brothers Bill “Laki” and George Sgourakis. Of my own six sisters, four worked for the brothers throughout their teens and twenties, and I couldn’t walk in the doors without my children being rained down upon with baklava and generous hugs. And if we had known our last hug would have indeed been our last, we would have held on a little longer.
On June 18, Laki Sgourakis took his leave of a life he built with hard work and kindness. He leaves behind a family who loved and supported him, a restaurant that will continue to serve in his honor, and a city that will be forever grateful for his jovial spirit.
Ming’s in Papillion has been slowly preparing for their July 1st reopening. The family has been looking forward to serving their community again, even as they do so with heavy hearts. The restaurant is draped in black, and on the wall hangs a portrait of founder Ming Wang, who passed away due to complications from Covid-19. Born in Sandong, China, Ming met his future wife, Lu, at the age of five, not to be separated from her until his death on June 8th. Ming’s will continue to be run by Ming and Lu’s adult children, as it has been in recent years.
Ming will be remembered for his many kindnesses, his determination to build his American dream, and the inexhaustible effort he put into finding joy in life every day.
These men have left Omaha a little kinder, a little more joyful, and a little more delicious than they found it. We thank you for your service, and your families are in our hearts.