JAMES K. BARBIS.
James K. Barbis, one of the proprietors of the Riverside Cafe and Grill Room, was born in Corinth, Greece, February
24, 1891. When he was about fourteen years old he came with his parents to America. The family located in St. Louis,
Missouri, where James K. Barbis found employment in a box car factory. In this, his first job in the United States,
he was so unfortunate as to lose the end of one of his fingers, which caused him to change his occupation. He then
became a bus boy in the old Planters Hotel at St. Louis, where he worked until he came to California.
Shortly after the great earthquake and fire in San Francisco in 1906, James K. Barbis landed in that city. The
following year he and his cousin, Mike Barbis, came to Visalia and purchased the Riverside Cafe. The cafe was then
located in a small room on Main street, but the new proprietors soon had the satisfaction of seeing their business
expand until larger quarters were necessary. Additional room was secured and the Riverside is now considered one
of the best appointed eating houses in the San Joaquin valley.
Besides himself, Spiro and A. Barbis and Mike Barbis, a cousin, constitute the firm. They own a substantial business
block on Main street, Visalia, and Mike Barbis conducts a cafe, known as the Barbis Grill, in Dinuba. The six members
of the Barbis family - brothers and cousins - are all successful business men. The Visalia Fruit Market and the
Palace Cafe on North Church street are owned and conducted by them, and James K. Barbis owns a fine prune orchard
and vineyard near Visalia, purchased and paid for within the last few years with the fruits of his industry and
good business management.
During the latter part of the great World war, after the United States entered the conflict, Mr. Barbis served
in the quartermaster department at Camp Lewis, in the state of Washington. The troops there, himself among them,
were just ready to sail for Siberia when news was received that the armistice had been signed and the war was over.
When he received his honorable discharge he returned to Visalia and resumed his business connections where they
had been broken off when he entered the military service.
Mr. Barbis is a member of the Visalia Kiwanis Club, Elks Lodge No. 1298 of Visalia, the Loyal Order of Moose, the
Fraternal Order of Eagles and the American Legion, in all of which he is recognized as a "good fellow"
and is deservedly popular.
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
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