Panayiotis “Panos” Photopoulos

November 8, 1942 – July 7, 2020

Panayiotis (Panos) Photopoulos, 77, passed away on the 6th of July, 2020 in Charlotte. Panos was born on the 8th of November, 1942 in the small village of Agios Sostis, in the Peloponnese region of Greece. The only son of the late George and Hrisanthe, he was raised in the nearby town of Andritsaina with his four older sisters.

In 1968, he realized his longtime dream of moving to the United States and settled in Chicago, where he began his American dream with signature enthusiasm. In 1969 he met and married his beautiful wife Toula (Giannibas), and he learned the ropes of the restaurant business by day while taking English classes at night. In 1986 Panos, Toula, and their three young sons moved to Charlotte to be closer to family. That same year, he opened his first restaurant, The French Quarter in Uptown, which is still owned and operated by his son George and is one of the oldest, most beloved establishments in the area.

From 2004-2015, Panos and his family owned the Greek Isles in South End, which felt like home to many during those years. Anyone who worked for or visited the Greek Isles immediately felt like part of the Photopoulos family, due in large part to Panos’s genuine warmth, good humor, and hospitality. He was a great storyteller and always had a joke and a good word at the ready. Besides his beautiful family, it is Panos’s legacy of love, positivity, and generosity of spirit that will keep him eternally in the hearts of those who were lucky enough to know him.

In addition to his late parents, Panos is preceded in death by his sisters Maria Hiropoulou and Yiota Lambropoulos, and his brother-in-law Grigoris Tsioutsias. He is survived by his loving wife Toula, his sons George (Danielle), Greg (Marina), and Frank (Hristina); his sisters Toula Tsioutsias, Eleni Ikonomakis (Giorgo); his brother-in-law Souli Lambropoulos; his grandchildren Peter, Dimitri, Alexia, and Nikolas, and many nieces, nephews and extended family members in the U.S. and Greece.

Arrangements are being handled by Ellington Funeral Services. Due to current regulations, there will be a private funeral and burial on Friday, July 17th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Panos’s memory to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Attn: Pew Restoration Project, 600 East Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28203.

Notes of encouragement or condolences may be made to the family by posting a comment below.

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Phoebe Elliott (FQ regular)

2 months ago

Toula, Greg, George, and Frank… I am so sorry for your loss. I will never forget Panos… His smile, his laugh, his big hugs. I will pray for peace for each of you as you navigate these sad days. Love to all of you.

Deacon George N Politis

2 months ago

Please accept my deepest sympathy. May the Lord rest the soul of His servant Panos among His Saints and may the Lord comfort you.

Jim Amburn

2 months ago

A bright and shining star has gone out in Charlotte and the world. His hospitality and good humor made him the bright spot of my day when I dined at his establishments. Panos will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Toula, Greg, George, Frank and his extended family have my heartfelt condolences and will be in my thoughts and prayers in their time of sorrow. May he rest in peace.

Doug Dawson

2 months ago

I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Photopoulos passing. I have known him as far back as the 1980s. He was always a gentlemen and a bright spot to all us visiting the French Quarter. Matter of fact I went up to him recently and told him how great it was to see him and we talked about how we meet in the 80s. He was just beaming with joy on our conversation. I will miss you sir. I know your family will miss you dearly.

Tracy Van Skiver

2 months ago

I am so sorry for your loss! When I moved here from Baltimore Maryland and moved into an apartment uptown my best friend Cindy Balatsias brought me to the French Quarter and introduced me to the family. I love the family feeling when I go there and will miss Panos welcoming me with his smile and gentle soul. Loved to listen to his stories, could listen to Panos forever telling stories. This is a difficult time to know the right things to say to the family but I will be praying for each of you, this is the most Powerful thing I can do. Will miss seeing Panos. Toula, Greg, George, Frank and the family I send you my deepest sympathies.
In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:28
Your friend and regular customer at French Quarter
Tracy Van Skiver

Jan Thomas

2 months ago

Our family is greatly saddened by the loss of such a kind and caring man. My parents always celebrated special occasions at the Greek Isle. I often met them for lunch there as well. Panos and my Dad would joke around. He was always very gracious to them. Your family is in our prayers

Karen L Austin

2 months ago

Toula, George, Frank and Greg, Jim and I are saddened to hear of Panos passing. We will miss his smiling face and greeting us at the door of the French Quarter. We enjoyed our lunches before the Panthers Games seeing the family and sometimes sitting with him and Toula. God has gained another angel.

Demetra Kritas Dunlop

2 months ago

I and my family are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of this legendary man. Indeed a bright light has gone out of the world. Panos was always so kind and generous to my family. My father always treated us to the Greek Isles when he visited us from Greece. The fig tree in our back yard was gifted to us by Κυρίω Panos years ago and it grew from a small shoot into a beautiful fruit bearing tree, just like Panos and the Photopoulos family legacy that he worked so hard to build. Our family is heart broken for your loss. Prayers for comfort and peace for his beloved Toula, their children and grandchildren.

Shirley Carter

2 months ago

Sadden to hear that “Panos” will no longer be sharing his incredible personality, charm, & humor with his family, customers, & friends. Have great memories of my favorite lunch spot – “The French Quarter” – during the 7 years employment at SPC. Retired in 2000 & moved to Atlanta, GA but loved dining at the beautiful “Greek Isles” on visits back to Charlotte. Panos will live on in my memories. Miss seeing you Toula & praying that God will grant you & your boys & their families peace & strength as you face the future without this bright shiny light. RIP Panos – you left your incredible “positive outlook on life” on many!

Sheila McCoy

2 months ago

In loving memory of Panos. He will still be forever hugging me each time I arrive at the French Quarter or the Greek festival. God bless Toula and the whole family. He will be sorely missed.

Vasiliki C Kizis

2 months ago

I am so sorry for your loss. Panos will always be in our hearts. He always made you feel special and his energy was contagious especially his jokes. May his memory be eternal.
With love and sympathy,

Augustine & Vicky Kizis

Charlene T Lippard

2 months ago

I was a regular patron of the FQ until I retired from Duke, and always felt the warm welcome from Panos, Toula, and the boys. I loved to hear Panos tell stories and hug us.

You all hold a special place in my heart, and will continue to pray for your family. Life will be forever different for all of us without Panos in it.

Neil Braithwaite

2 months ago

Deepest sympathies. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Neil & Susan Braithwaite

Kelly Elliott

2 months ago

My deepest condolences,
He will always be remembered for his smiling happy face and gracious attitude.
He was a always a bright light and true joy to be around.
He will be greatly missed.
My prayers continue for the family.


Carl McEwen Ellington Sr.

President of Ellington Funeral Services


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