Tours offered for Zaharakos upstairs space

Zaharakos has long been known for such eye-catching throwbacks as its original onyx soda fountain from the 1904 World’s Fair and the booming, century-old, Welte orchestrion in its facility on Washington Street.

But far fewer people realize that the second-floor served as the living quarters for Greek immigrant George Zaharako and his family from 1900 to 1914, according to The Republic archives.

Twice-weekly, hour-long, $15 tours have begun of the fabled restaurant’s upstairs that include the restored space that houses living quarters, and also includes the crystal parlor, soda fountain and mechanical music libraries. Debra Slone, a local history buff who helped in bringing the second-floor area back to life, serves as the tour guide backspacing through the memories.

“I think there’s still so much to tell,” said Slone, who dresses in period, lace dresses for the tours booked through the Columbus Area Visitors Center. “And I probably know the history there as well as anyone.”

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.