Ocala landmark under new ownership

The new owners of Wolfy’s, Diane German and her son, Anthony Viktora, pose with two of their signature dishes, a 3-Cheese Omlet and a Philly Cheese Steak, at Wolfy’s on East Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala. Fla. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. The mother and son team took over as the new owners on Jan. 2, 2024. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2024.

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Posted January 24, 2024 | By Amy Panaia Davidson

Wolfy’s of Ocala on Silver Springs Boulevard is the kind of place where folks gather for home-like cooking and camaraderie.

Not much has changed in Wolfy’s, which has been feeding the locals and visitors since 1983. It remains a link between nostalgia and comfort. “Welcome to Wolfy’s: Where Friends Meet Friends” is written on the wall and the menu. There are 30-plus employees and it’s a breakfast, lunch and dinner operation.

On Jan. 2, Diane German and her son Anthony Viktora took over the local landmark from original owner John Wolf. German has been in the restaurant business for over 30 years, owning five other Marion County establishments throughout the years. German stepped out of retirement once she heard that the eatery was up for sale.

The legacy of this restaurant is what appealed to German and Viktora.

“My son decided that I don’t need to be retired anymore, so here we are at Wolfy’s,” German said with a chuckle. “Wolfy’s has been here for 40-plus years, it’s a very well-established business.”

“It’s a staple of Ocala,” Viktora added.

He’s been in the restaurant business since he was 15 years old, working alongside his mother in a variety of professional kitchens.

“I just love what I do,’’ Viktora said. “I don’t believe in luck, it’s been a blessing, so we’re here for a reason.”

While the Leesburg Wolfy’s is still owned by the original owner, the Ocala location is German and Viktora’s newest project. Many of the staff have been there for five, 10, 15 or 20 years.

“I prayed really heavy about it. Right away the employees thought, ‘Are we going to have to look for another job?’ and I said, ‘No, I can’t do this without you guys. I want you guys here with us.’ So, I kept everybody,” German added.

German hired two part-time chefs who are developing homemade soups and different specials.

“Every Friday will be our prime rib special, and on the 17th of every month we’ll have our corned beef and cabbage special. Eventually, as soon as I feel comfortable, we’ll be open on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” she said.

“A lot of people were worried about drastic changes. We’re not making drastic changes because it works. So why do we want to change anything?” she said.

For the past 30 years, Hal Barrineau has met at the restaurant with his pals and family, where they talk about the new days, the old days and everything in between.

“We solve all the problems of the world, we try to,” Barrineau said half-jokingly about his usual dining pals.

“When I come here and see people, it’s kind of like a meeting place for different little groups of friends,’’ he said. “I constantly see people here who I’ve developed relationships with in business and other things over the years.”

Barrineau added that he keeps coming back because of the people, the convenience of the location, the food and the “excellent service.”

Elizabeth Ellis has been a day shift server and hostess at Wolfy’s for 20 years. She said it’s the people that have kept her there.

“I love the customers. We know them by name, it’s almost like ‘Cheers,’” Ellis said.

“I just enjoy being here,’’ she said. “I love serving, I love seeing the people and it’s become family.”




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