HE WHITE LADY OPENED its doors for the first time around the end of May, 1987. Antonia had worked previously in Yianni’s bar in Rethymno, but had dreams of having her own bar. With the help of her uncles, Andonis, Thanasis and Vasilis (Billy), that dream came true in 1987. However, except for the fantasic welcome that you always get from the staff of the White Lady, it was nothing like it is today.
Early White Lady
THE WHITE LADY WAS a cafe snack bar with only basic kitchen facilities. However, it was still a good place to go either during the day, or in the evening. Slowly the business developed, more ambitious food became available as better facilities were added to the kitchen. Dancing was one of Antonia’s hobbies, and because of this the Syrtaki nights developed; usually Antonia and Yiasemi with Frank or Telemarchos (Tel Boy) and later, Roula. Gradually they became more and more professional and the Syrtaki nights became one of the most popular attractions of the area. Yiannis joined Antonia in the White Lady after their wedding in 1992.
NOWADAYS THE CAFE SNACK BAR has become a bar restaurant and the dancing is performed by others, although you will often see the family joining in from time to time. Today’s dancers now wear some of the traditional costumes of Crete for the traditional Cretan dancing section of the programme. Nevertheless, the main object of the dancing is to show YOU the steps and to get YOU to join in. If you only come on holiday for the four S’s, you are missing an awful lot. The White Lady tries to give you a feeling for the Cretan culture and Cretan hospitality (Philoxenia).
ANTONIA IS OFTEN ASKED where the name “White Lady” came from, since most restaurants and bars have Greek names. Well, here it is for all to read. The White Lady is the ghost of a woman who lived in a castle on the mainland of Greece. After she died she protected the inhabitants of the castle. In this way the White Lady protects the staff and the customers of the White Lady Taverna.