Golden Basket Restaurant
It’s All in the Family
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Nick and Soula Bourantanis immigrated from Greece to the United States in the 1970s; and in 1984, the couple debuted their Golden Basket Restaurant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Theirs is a story repeated countless times in this land of opportunity. Through passion, dedication and an excellent work ethic, they raised three children while making a tremendous success of their foodservice enterprise.
As a small boy, their son Gus came to work with his parents, and they would give him small jobs in the kitchen to keep him amused. As he watched his parents operate, Gus inherited their passion and business savvy. When it came time to choose his own career, he refined his culinary skills at Fox Valley Technical College, then joined the family business. Today, Nick Bourantanis is semi-retired, but still comes in to make his famous homemade soups. Soula Bourantanis, who was in Greece caring for her mother at the time of our interview, still works alongside her son and his wife Anna, a native of Belarus. “It is a joy to work with my husband and his parents,” said Anna Bourantanis. “Our loyal customers are like members of our extended family. Some of them actually dine here two and three times a day.” As we all know, a full parking lot is the first indication of a good restaurant.
New employees to the staff of about 30 are given a comprehensive training program to ensure an efficient, smooth running operation. “Our family sets a good example,” Anna said. “One of us is always on site. Gus works very long hours, but it’s a labor of love for him.”
The Golden Midas Touch
Most of the recipes used at Golden Basket originated with Nick, who, like the mythical Greek King Midas, has that golden touch. “He performs magic in the kitchen,” said Anna. “Somebody else can use the same recipe and the same ingredients, but their outcome is never quite as good as my father-in-law’s -- although my husband is a chip off the old block in terms of great cooking ability.”
The key phrase when describing the cooking philosophy here is “Made from scratch.” Everything is made fresh each day. Any leftovers are donated to feed the hungry in Green Bay. Gus Bourantanis believes in giving back to his community and in supporting sustainability, obtaining as many products as he can from local producers.
The Golden Basket menu pays homage to the culinary heritage of our nation, with the inclusion of many international dishes that have become mainstream. Greek dishes, including gyros and Greek salad, share menu space with Mexican quesadillas and fajitas, Oriental stir-fry and Italian pastas. One of the best sellers is good, old American barbeque ribs.. Another is broasted chicken. Breakfast is served all day, and some of the hearty items are as appropriate to supper as they are first thing in the morning. For example, Soula’s Skillet contains ham, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, two eggs, shredded cheese and American fries.
Open seven days a week, year-round, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., this beloved family restaurant is busiest on Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays, when traditional dinners are served. Every day, all items on the menu are available for carryout.
(NOTE: Gus and Anna Bourantanis were recently blessed with their first child, a son named Nicholas. Perhaps he too will follow in the footsteps of Grandpa Nick and Grandma Soula.)