John Sakos
John Sakos

John Sakos lights up the room when he enters. He overflows with a joy for life and food.

He came from the Upper Perk/Green Lane area. He considers himself just a country boy. His love for fishing knows no bounds. Even with his busy schedule, he goes fishing every chance he gets.

John is the executive chef and general manager for the Great American Pub both in Wayne and Phoenixville.

He started in the restaurant business at the age of 12 as a dish washer. After graduating from high school, while pondering what direction his life should take, he worked at the Bay Pony Inn in Lederach. After about a year-and-a-half there, a co-worker offered him the opportunity to interview with a restaurant in Wayne. The interview was with Chef Horst Herold, who was in charge of the restaurant named Chef Tells. John was hired, and Chef Herold launched him on a seven-year program of learning the business and sharpening his skills. John will be forever grateful to Chef Herold for teaching him.


After seven years of working with Chef Herold, he branched out.

John started to work for a small family pub in Narberth. The Great American Pub was started by the Charles Hemcher Family. This venture expanded and grew to include Wayne and Conshohocken. Under John’s guidance, the Great American Pub opened in Phoenixville in 2014. Along with Chef Herold, John considers Charles Hemcher to be one of two who mentored him in his chosen profession.

John met his wife, Zoe, 20 years ago. She came in to have dinner with a friend. It was “love at first sight” for John. He wrote a poem to her, wrapped in plastic wrap and hid it her mash potatoes. They have been married for 15 years.

When looking for a place to settle, they both wanted to live in Phoenixville. They recently moved to Birchrunville when, with only a short time to move, there was nothing available in Phoenixville.

The Sakos household includes three cats and two dogs; this count can change at any time.

Along the busy schedule of going back and forth between the two pubs, family and church are important to his life. John’s daughter, Monica, works at the pub in Phoenixville. He is member of Express Church at the Y. A mission of the church is “tThe only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

John’s love knows no bounds. He generously shares to so many others. He is always there with a helping hand. To relieve tension and to keep him humble, for the last three or four years, he has practiced jiujitsu at USA MMA Academy in downtown Phoenixville.

He believes that Zoe Sakos is more giving and generous than he. She is involved in many events in town. Zoe is a vegan, and slowly she has been winning John (who loves all foods) over to considering including vegan food in his diet. This change has helped him control his weight and share another passion that draws him closer to his beautiful Zoe.


Vegan & Gluten Free

3 cups raw cashews

3 roasted red peppers

2 roasted garlic cloves

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast*

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. white pepper

1 cup cold water**

Soak raw cashews in water for 30 minutes and drain. Roast red peppers over open flame until skin is charred. Place in close paper bag for 10 minutes. Remove skin, stems and seeds. Slow roast peeled garlic cloves in olive oil over low heat until golden brown. Blend all ingredients in food processor while adding cold water to reach desired consistency. Serve with fresh vegetables or apple slices.

*Nutritional yeast is an inactive dry yeast rich in B12. It can be found at most local grocery stores.


Let Bette hear from you: Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.