Backstory: Recently discovered photos show popular Gemini Restaurant

The Gemini Restaurant at 144 S. Center is shown in May 1967, in downtown Casper. The space is now occupied by Don Juan’s. (Chuck Morrison Collection, Casper College Western History Center)

Vince Crolla, chief curator at the Western History Center at Casper College, was recently examining a box of black & white negatives when he came across an interesting image.

The pictures were part of the Chuck Morrison collection and had yet to be digitized. Morrison was a long-time photographer with the Casper Star-Tribune and its predecessors. A large chunk of his archive is preserved at the Western History Center.

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The pictures date from May 1967 and show the Gemini Restaurant’s sign and interior lit up in the evening. The sign reflects off the roof of a car in the foreground.

The Gemini, located at 144 S. Center, was operated by brothers Pete and James Kanelos. The brothers soon expanded their restaurant business in Casper. An article in the Casper Star-Tribune from 1970 shows the brothers posing with Gussi and Otto Bennett after the two bought the Bennett’s restaurant located on CY Ave.

An advertisement in the Star-Tribune from Oct. 26, 1980 announces the sale of the Gemini after 19-years of operation. The ad says its new owner, Ardith Searle, would operate the space under the new name La Casa De Madrid and was signed by James and Edith Kanelos.

James’ son and daughter-in-law went on to start their own successful restaurant, known for years as Karen and Jim’s. Last year they dramatically remodeled and rebranded their restaurant The Office to fit the vibe in the booming Old Yellowstone District.

The former site of the Gemini Restaurant and La Casa De Madrid is now occupied by Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant, which has operated in the space for over two-decades.

The Gemini Restaurant is shown in this 1967 photo. The space is now occupied by Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant. A Keefe’s Flowers is seen at right, now occupied by Sonic Rainbow. (Chuck Morrison Collection, Western History Center at Casper College)

A 1972 photo published in the Casper Star-Tribune shows a promotional stunt for St. Patrick’s Day at the Gemini. The photo also features four of the restaurant’s servers at the time, jokingly identified as Jenny O’Meyer, Vicki O’Lewallen, Pegge O’Walker, and Lynn O’Deekard.

An Oct. 1980 ad in the Casper Star-Tribune from Gemini owners James and Edith Kanelos announces the sale of their restaurant to Ardith Searle.

A newspaper ad for the Gemini from May 1974, urges readers to “get mom out of the kitchen and treat her with out home cooking.”

A Casper Star-Tribune article from Oct. 21, 1970, features Gemini Restaurant owners Pete and James Kanelos with Gussi and Otto Bennett. The Kanelos brothers had just purchased Bennett’s restaurant, which was located on CY Ave.