A native of Sparta, Greece, Harry Poulakakos traveled to the United States in 1956 in hopes of finding a wealthy uncle in America. When the man turned out to be a coffee shop counterman, Harry took his first job in Brooklyn at an ice cream parlor. After a brief stint in Manhattan at George's restaurant learning the bar, Harry found himself at the historical Oscar's Delmonico's.
In 1972, Harry found the perfect space for his own venture, Harry's at Hanover Square, in the basement of the historical India House building. Together with his wife Adrienne, Harry successfully opened three locations, with additional spaces within the American Stock exchange building as well as in The Woolworth Building. Harry's at Hanover Square quickly became a Wall Street institution, and was immortalized in novels such as Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities as well as Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho. In 1976, Adrienne gave birth to a son, Peter, whose birth was celebrated on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. As Peter grew he took pride in working within his father's restaurants, from sweeping the floor of the bar to eventually running the outgoing business during the summers.
For thirty years, Harry's at Hanover Square was a favorite haunt of traders who came to celebrate or commiserate over the state of the market. In 2003, following the death of his wife Adrienne, Harry shut the doors of the last remaining location. In 2006 Peter decided, along with his partners Michael Jewell and Danny McDonald, to revive Harry's with a fresh look and feel. After much consideration the large bar that had signified the old Harry's was removed and the restaurant was reborn.
Peter Poulakakos currently owns and operates 22 restaurants as well as a wine store, Vintry Fine Wines. Harry's remains the flagship of his burgeoning portfolio. Harry remains a consultant to his son, and can be found greeting customers six days a week at Harry's.