This story of The Mayflower Cafe and the Janoplis Family written by John Bell was taken from The Provincetown Advocate the local newspaper around 1975.

 "Mike Janoplis has been a worker all his life. He will never retire. His brother Sam, five years younger sold Mike his share of The Mayflower Café long ago and retired-a familiar    tall figure greeting friends with two-handed handshakes and Old World courtesy. Mike’s first employer here, Nicholas Melitopolous, retired from the food business decades ago. Mike Janoplis keeps on working behind The Mayflower bar.

His sons Mike Junior and Sammy, say their father is semi-retired. This may only reflect the change in mike’s position in 1962 when his sons bought the business from him and became the second generation of Mike and Sammy owners of The Mayflower.

The boys hadn’t been born yet when their father and uncle built the café in 1929-30. Later they spent their after school hours there, providing perhaps the first unlicensed entertainment ever offered in Provincetown. Their antics drove Uncle Sammy into arm-waiving frustration and brought sharp words from Mike Sr., but the customers loved it.

After WW II, when I first knew Mike, most of The Mayflower’s five o’clock customers were carpenters stopping in for a beer before supper. They could be sure, of one thing, that Mike would remember what brand of beer they liked, and would have it poured by the time they sat down. For another they could be sure of Mike’s attention while they discussed the day’s work, for Mike was quite the carpenter himself. Every winter Mike improved the place, rearranging the bar and food counter, repainting the ceiling and walls. He did good work in spite of interference by his gang of sidewalk superintendents.

And while his changes updated the food service and his help’s working conditions, they left the high wainscoting on the walls, the beamed ceiling, and the large dining booths. The Mayflower remains a "sit down" restaurant in comfortable contrast to it’s "through the window" neighbors.

See America First
Mike wasn’t always a restaurateur. When he got off the boat in New York in 1908, he and his compatriots were put aboard a train to Kansas City Missouri. From there they were sent to Oklahoma, where severe washouts had halted rail traffic. Directed through a Greek interpreter, they rebuilt the railbeds, living in company owned shelters, buying clothes from the railroad timekeeper who deducted the cost from their wages.

Fifty cents may seem cheap today for a jacket or a pair of overalls. But Mike and his companions worked six ten-hour days a week for 11 cents an hour. Occasionally they worked Sunday’s, too, for an extra 1.10- no such thing as overtime wages then. Mike’s next job, on Rock Island Railroad, paid him better-15 cents an hour.

From railroad work Mike moved to the Pacific Northwest, helping on gangs that erected power poles in Washington. He saw a lot of the U.S.A., including Boston, before he enlisted in the Army in 1918. six months in a New Jersey training camp followed. When he got out, the war had ended. Temporarily footloose, he came to Provincetown July 3, 1919, just for a weekend holiday. He met Nick melitopolous and was invited to "put on your apron and go to work for me."

Subject to Change
Nick’s Fruit-Candy-Ice-cream stand, believe it or not, stood on the corner where the Soldier’s Monument is now. Mike’s job there ended during the Tricentennial observance of the Pilgrim’s Landing. Around 1920, Ryder Street was moved Eastward about fifty feet and widened. Nick’s stand was one of the buildings removed during the change.

Mike then built the Blue Moon Restaurant on Standish Street, six feet east of the New York Store, on land leased from the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. The bankrupt railroad later decided to sell all its land. It terminated Mike’s 30 day lease, and that was the end of the Blue Moon. During the winter of 1929-1930- the Janoplis brothers built the Mayflower Café where it stands today.

By hard work and no-frills living, they survived the depression years. Long before prosperity returned, Mike and his wife, the former Annie Crawley, were raising their family, never dreaming they would celebrate their golden wedding anniversary October 8, 1975. (It was a quiet celebration; daughter Louine and husband Jim Daugherty came out from Ohio to spend last week visiting) Mike and Sam opened their restaurant early and closed late, trading friendly service and good food for the business that kept their families going. But they never got rich at it.

Big Crash
Part of Mike Janoplis’ high standing in his adopted town comes from this habit of hard work, part from his quietly friendly ways, and part from his sympathy for other workingmen. I learned this last quality on a memorable day long ago.

I was building Mike a concrete drainage pit on the shore, across Commercial Street from his restaurant. His old pit had collapsed, threatening to shut down the Mayflower during a July 4th weekend. Jimmy Silva’s bulldozer dug the hole, clearing Mike’s drainpipe so he could open again.

While I was working there a sudden rain began soaking the bags of cement. I loaded four or five bags onto Mike’s two-wheel truck and brought them across the street to put them under cover. The truck, under that load, refused to jump the curbing onto the sidewalk. Backing it off, I gave a great pull-and the truck not only jumped the curbing but put it’s steel handles through the plate glass window of Cutler’s Pharmacy behind me.

Before the glass had stopped falling, Mike had come out, assessed the situation, and taken over. He helped board up Cutler’s window and insisted on paying the $75 replacement cost, refusing to let me even share it.

Mike Sr. passed away in 1979, Sam in 1994. In 1980, Sammy sold his half of the Mayflower to Mike Jr., and The Mayflower is currently owned and operated by the third generation of Janoplis' Donna, Darin, and Michael.