Sophia Mondanos and Eleni Atherinis are sisters who have been in the restaurant business since they were kids. Back in New Jersey, their family owned a restaurant, and when they were of an age to work, both went directly into food service.
As a result, it might not be very surprising to know the two are opening their own restaurant in the Town of Hartland. It’s called Greek Cuisine.
“It’s always been a dream of mine and my sister. My parents had a restaurant when we were growing up in New Jersey,” Mondanos said. “It’s a partnership. It’s me and my sister owned. My mom’s going to be the cook and we have several line cooks that she’s going to train.”
In terms of COVID-19 health concerns, she said she and her sister are implementing safety measures. While many might balk at opening a restaurant in what has become a raging pandemic, Mondanos said it’s the perfect place at the perfect time.
“We do have our tables six feet a part. (The customer) will have to wear a mask while they wait to be seated,” she said. “We had the health department here today to give us the OK.”
“You don’t want to be stuck in the house anyway,” Mondanos explained. “That was the first thing I couldn’t wait for to open was the restaurants. Everyone wants to come out and enjoy themselves – and you don’t have to cook! I actually think it’s the perfect time, because everyone’s been crammed inside.”
The best thing about the business, Mondanos said, is the people.
“Meeting the new people, talking to people, making friends, seeing regulars,” she listed what she loves most. “When I first moved up here my first job was at Tim Hortons and I would love the regulars because it was like, ‘Hey, it’s me! You know what I want,’ and it makes you feel special.”
“My sister actually left an Italian restaurant to open this one,” Mondanos continued. “She’s been working at Italian restaurants since she was 16, so she’s been in it for her whole life.”
The restaurant will serve a full range of both Greek and American foods. Souvleki will be followed by Philly cheese steaks on the menu. Greek coffee and frappes will also be served.
“I want (the customer) to feel at home,” Mondanos said. “They can relax, enjoy themselves. Listen to some music …”
At this point Atherinis chimed in.
“Like paradise,” she said. “Like we’re in Greece.”
Greek Cuisine will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday starting Monday and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will employ 10 people including the family, Mondanos said. It is located at 7790 Ridge Road in Gasport.