When guests enter Giorgio’s Restaurant, they may get to meet reality TV star Constantine Tzortzis of “The Bachelorette” fame.
Since the ABC reality romance show began in May, he’s greeted dozens of fans who want to get photos and ask questions.
As a co-owner of his family’s eatery in Cumming, Tzortzis could often be found in the kitchen.
But as droves of fans flocked to the restaurant, he moved out to the main floor more often.
“I felt like I came back to my job here, which is working and putting in a helping hand,” Tzortzis said. “The demand was, ‘You need to be out front talking to people right now.’ But I’m in the back going, ‘But they really want their food.’”
The atmosphere at the restaurant has calmed down some since the show ended Monday night.
Bachelorette Ashley Hebert began with 25 suitors, and Tzortzis was one of the final three remaining.
As the show neared its finish, which includes the option to propose to the bachelorette, Tzortzis eliminated himself.
“I didn’t want to have doubts at all,” he said. “I knew that the next step wasn’t going to be real.”
He said his relationship with Hebert progressed slower than others in the house, and he never felt a strong enough romantic connection.
Tzortzis was glad he took the opportunity to appear on the show, which wasn’t at all what he thought it would be.
For a couple years running, frequent restaurant patrons had encouraged him to apply for it.
“I’d say, ‘No way, I’m never doing reality television,’” he said, admitting that he’d never seen the show before.
When he finally gave in, Tzortzis said the conditions were right.
He had ended a relationship and was open to finding someone. He also wanted to travel the world and saw an opportunity to “promote being open and honest in a relationship on national television.”
With his laid-back attitude, Tzortzis did not expect to be selected for the show because he felt that producers would be looking for drama.
Even after being selected from among 15,000 applicants, he thought he would be going home after the first episode was taped for that same reason.
“I didn’t believe in the show. I was very skeptical of the whole process, of reality television,” Tzortzis said. “At that point, I thought it was ABC’s decision of who goes and who stays … I was proven wrong.
“It was actually the exact opposite. They guide you, and they have ideas and themes they want to show. At the same time, they let you create the story.”
The editing kept the show true to what happened, he said, though he was disappointed his boxing scene was cut.
He didn’t mind watching himself on television, saying, “It’s not as painful as listening to yourself on a voicemail, which to me is like nails on a chalkboard.”
Tzortzis said the Lakeland Plaza restaurant’s show-watching party premieres each week kept him busy instead of fretting over what might appear on screen.
Fans of the show came out in larger numbers each week to watch with him.
Elleni Tzortzis, his mother, said the gatherings happened on their own.
At first, the show labeled her son as being from Atlanta.
“When they said ‘Cumming,’ then we started getting tons of phone calls,” Elleni Tzortzis said.
Women of all ages left impressions on the family. They ranged from an 8-year-old who called him “a movie star” to a group of 82-year-olds who came from Marietta just to see him.
Elleni Tzortzis said she’s heard plenty of compliments from mothers, who shared how they point out her son to their children as an example of a good man.
“What bigger compliment could I get about my son?” she said. ” [His father and I] are both so proud of him. I think he set a really good example.”
More importantly, Elleni Tzortzis said the Constantine seen on the show is the same one they see at home.
His TV appearance has been a blessing for the area by bringing in revenue, his mother said.
It’s also been a blessing for Giorgio’s, which has been doing record business.
The restaurant will celebrate its 20th anniversary Aug. 15 with its own TV star and at least one, if not more, of the other contestants from “The Bachelorette.”
Constantine Tzortzis, a South Forsyth High School alumnus, said he is so thankful for the support he’s received from his hometown.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “In my mind, as naive as this sounds, I didn’t think it was that big of a show. It was during the summer on Monday nights.”