Saturday, November 12, 2016


The moment is finally here…well it WILL be here, officially on Tuesday, November 15th. Mario’s Sports Bar and Grill will finally open in Creston, Iowa!

I could not be happier or more proud of my brother, Mario and his business associate, Austin.

Austin (left) & Mario (right)

It reminds me of our high school days when I was a wrestling cheerleader and I was one of my brother’s biggest fans. But now, this isn’t high school and this isn’t wrestling…it’s real life and yet I’m still in awe of his amazing work ethic and ability to wear a smile no matter what. He is an incredible brother, son, uncle and most importantly, DAD!

Mario and I

I would like to add I grew up with five [amazing] older brothers (this is the part where you say to yourself, “oh my gosh, what was that like”). It was something, let me tell ya-but it was also pretty special too. I had five, immediately built in friendships from people I knew would always be there for me.

Anyway-back to this grand opening thing…let me introduce you to the Owner, Mario Galanakis and General Manager, Austin Swagel.

Mario, is of course, from Greenfield, Iowa, graduated high school from Nodaway Valley and then from the University of Iowa…where he also wrestled. Mario grew up in the restaurant business where he started cooking, waiting tables and washing dishes at just the young age of 10. How is that legal you ask? Well, apparently you didn’t grow up with parents who ran a Greek restaurant; The Old Hotel (now called the Olive Branch) in Greenfield, Iowa.

Not that they mistreated us, no, everyone just works together…like a family. We wanted to be there. It was our home, daycare and business. The whole establishment is a team effort…which is just what Mario and Austin plan to do with their sports bar and grill.

“I waited tables, I cooked, I bussed, I did a lot of dishes, so I’ve seen it all and have done it all. Having that experience meant a lot and a lot of people never had it when trying something like this.” Mario said, “I was really lucky that mom and dad taught us to always earn what you get…ya gotta work for it.”

So, how did two best friends who lived states away from each other decide to open a business you ask? Well from the very two things that brought them together in the first place…a restaurant and sports. Austin [also a graduate of Nodaway Valley] worked at our parent’s restaurant in high school and he was no stranger to the sports events that were constantly taking place at the “Galanakis Ranch.”

“Our vision for this place is sports. At the end of the day, everything we do, whether it’s volleyball in the back yard, playing cards or ping pong at 6am all night long, it was always about sports or some competition.” Austin said. “Growing up, working in the Old Hotel under John and Joni, customer service was always a top priority and the overall customer experience.”

So why would someone leave a nice, corporate job to run a restaurant/bar in small town Iowa? For nothing more than the good ole’ call of entrepreneurship, well and friendship, of course. It’s true what they say “hard times always reveal true friends.” And instead of allowing a few setbacks in his life to break him, Mario decided to do something he’d always wanted to do, open a restaurant.

“I’ve always wanted to do this but being that I worked on the railroad and made good money for my family, that’s just what I did.” Mario said.

Mario Galanakis - owner

After the two would talk back and forth about how they were tired of their jobs, it just clicked to them-let’s do this…it’s now or never. Just like in sports, you just try your best and go for it.

“I knew I needed someone to help, being that I had the girls and I wanted someone I could trust and rely on and someone who was responsible. Whenever Austin and I would talk, we'd talk about his job and about how it was getting too easy and that he wanted another challenge. Well, what is a better challenge than running your own business?” Mario said.

So here they are…

Mario’s Sports Bar and Grill plans to be open:

Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday-Sat 11am-2am

And what kind of food can you expect to be served? Well for starters, they will offer the same infamous “Super Salads” and “Gyros” that the Olive Branch in Greenfield offers along with the classic salads, wings, sandwiches, burgers and more.

“We’re just excited to bring something different to the community. There’s a lot of people I’ve talked to that have said Creston has needed something like this for a long time and I’ve always thought that too.” Mario said.

The difference is that Mario’s Sports Bar and Grill features 15 flat screen tvs, two pool tables, a juke box, foosball and shuffleboard is on the way! They also plan to offer events such as trivia games and “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” night.

“Our atmosphere is different. There’s nowhere else to go like this with your family, friends or whoever. Come in, sit down, enjoy a good meal with entertainment.” Mario said.

So if you’re looking for something fun to do and grab a great bite to eat, you know where to go! Also don’t forget that they are still hiring…so feel free to ask for an application.

To stay updated with them, be sure to check out their Facebook Page:
Questions: Call (641) 278-1427 or Email

So proud of you Mario and Austin…we wish you so much success. And thank you to everyone who has helped them so much…mom, dad, our brothers, my husband, friends and anyone else-I know they have appreciated it. I also have to give a shout out to my husband, he designed the logo and various artwork you see featured through out the bar/restaurant. Can't wait to show you all the mural he painted inside as well! 

And don’t forget, it’s a FAMILY restaurant, so bring the kids. Trust me, how else do you think I was able to write this post and be a work from home mom!? I can’t promise your kids will get to ride the bus cart like mine did, but they will have fun!

Uncle Mario with our littles


  1. Great blog Maria......CONGRATS to Mario & Austin. Wishing you the very best. I hope to get down there soon to check it out.

  2. Are the going to have NFL Sunday ticket?

  3. Congrats Mario! I'm sure it will be a big success!