A glowing realization of a “λαθραίος” dream

■ By Constantine N. Kolitsas


HISTORY tells us that the first diner was created in Rhode Island in 1872 when Walter Scott began selling food from a horse-drawn wagon to employees of the Providence Journal. But for many, it’s Northern New Jersey that is ground zero for the storied “Greek diner.” And just as the early diners evolved from Scott’s wagon, today’s diners continue to evolve, with much of that evolution spearheaded in New Jersey, where the world’s largest concentration of diners exists. The River Edge Diner, nestled in a quiet residential hub in Bergen County, is among the latest and greatest examples of the new diner movement, showing the way of the future and indicating a path for diners everywhere to follow.

A familiar story, the River Edge Diner is owned and managed by a family of Greek Americans with strong ties to the local community. Led by the family patriarch, Steve Siderias, the River Edge Diner, or “the RED,” as it’s fondly referred to by patrons, has been a focal point for decades. Today, however, it is Steve’s son George who manages the day-to-day operations. And it is George who was the driving force behind the diner’s recent transformation.

Read More



Profiles in Success:

Pete Tsangarakis Quenches His Appetite for Business and Philanthropy


ONE of the most profound memories of Pete Tsangarakis’s early time in his adopted country was his first Christmas here. He was just 19 years old, had no relatives or friends, and had just gotten a job through an employment service that helped Greek illegal immigrants like himself to find work, usually as restaurant workers. He had gotten one of those jobs at the Green Lane Diner in Mount Kisco, New York, a suburb situated off the Saw Mill Parkway in Westchester County. Where the bustle of Manhattan may have offered options for the holidays, this sleepy town had none—at Christmas all of the eateries were closed for two days. As a result, Pete didn’t eat. And so he spent his first Christmas alone and hungry. That first Christmas, he says, formed the person he would become.

That was in 1965. Today Pete is a successful businessman and philanthropist who is committed to a number of social causes, most importantly, helping the hungry—particularly those in his community.

Read More


Connecticut’s Pan Gregorians Support Community Causes at Annual Gala

■ By Constantine N. Kolitsas


DINER owners and restaurateurs that comprise the vibrant Connecticut Greek business community gathered on Sunday October 22 in the state’s western city of Danbury to present the Pan Gregorian of Connecticut’s charitable gifts at the organization’s annual dinner dance, held at the Amber Room Colonnade. The event, also attended by suppliers and companies servicing the restaurant industry, featured a key note address by celebrity chef Maria Loi, whose television shows, cookbooks and restaurants have earned her a reputation as the “Martha Steward” of Greek cuisine.


Members of the Pan Gregorian of Connecticut Board of Directors with celebrity chef Maria Loi. (L to R: Vasilios Kaolidis, Themis Kolitsas, Nicholas Vlamis, Christos Skarbandonis, Maria Loi, George Marnelakis, James Tzepos, John Daoutis; back row Nick Vlastaris, George Mastromanolis, George Tsioflikis.


“The Greek restaurants that are popular in our large cities today owe everything to you,” she told the capacity crowd, donned in her trademark white toque accentuated with medals and awards earned over the course of her career. “It was from your diners that the American public learned about Greek cuisine,” she continued, while admonishing them to lose the lettuce in the quintessential diner version of a Greek salad, suggesting that they trade it out for the traditional “horiatiki” version that is, as she insisted, more authentic. “Of course, I don’t blame you,” she joked, “you had to make a little money and lettuce is inexpensive.”

Read More



Σεξουαλικές παρενοχλήσεις και πολιτικές αποκαλύψεις


ΑΜΕΤΡΗΤΕΣ, συνταρακτικές αποκαλύψεις γυναικών που υπέστησαν σεξουαλικές παρενοχλήσεις με πρωταγωνιστές πολιτικούς, ηθοποιούς, δημοσιογράφους και επιχειρηματίες, απασχολούν τον τελευταίο καιρό την αμερικανική κοινή γνώμη. Έφεραν στην επικαιρότητα ένα σοβαρότατο κοινωνικό πρόβλημα που δεν είναι μόνο αμερικανικό και που δεν επιτρέπεται να αγνοηθεί από αυτές τις στήλες.

Η πιο πολυθόρυβη περίπτωση αφορά τον υποψήφιο γερουσιαστή των Ρεπουμπλικανών στην Αλαμπάμα. Ο καταγγελόμενος Roy Moore αρνείται τους ισχυρισμούς οκτώ γυναικών. Και παρά τις έντονες επικρίσεις μελών του Κογκρέσσου και των δύο κομμάτων, αρνείται να αποσύρει την υποψηφιότητά του. Ακολούθησε η καταγγελία μιας γυναίκας ότι παρενοχλήθηκε από τον Δημοκρατικό γερουσιαστή Αλ Φράνκεν, ο οποίος παραδέχθηκε την ενοχή του και ζήτησε συγνώμη.


Read More



Sexual Harassment and Political Revelations


THE American public is in shock over the countless recent revelations by women alleging they were sexually harassed by politicians, actors, journalists, and businessmen. These stories bring to light a very grave social issue that affects not only the U.S., and which cannot go overlooked here.

The most notorious case involves Alabama’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate. The accused party, Roy Moore, denies the claims made against him by nine women, among them some teenagers. Despite the sharp criticism directed at him by leading members of Congress from both parties (but not from President Trump, who endorsed him!), he is refusing to end his candidacy.


Read More



Is This “the Voice of Christ”?


IN our November issue, we published a piece entitled “Opulent Archbishop” in the column “Happenings,” noting a “nice” statement written by Archbishop Demetrios in his message to the faithful regarding the Archdiocese’s financial situation: “…keeping in mind that we are the voice of Christ...” We added that this means that “we do as we please and you can protest all you like.”

The Archbishop’s words have been haunting me ever since. Is Archbishop Demetrios the “voice of Christ” or the expositor of Christ’s wonderful teachings? Is he, as well as the Pope and the rest of the leaders of the other Christian Churches and the countless bishops from various denominations “the voice of Christ”?


Read More



Είναι η... «φωνή του Χριστού»;


ΣΤΗ στήλη «Γεγονότα» στο τεύχος Νοεμβρίου, με τίτλο «Αρχιεπίσκοπος Πολυτελείας», σημείωσα το «ωραίο» γραφέν από τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο κ. Δημήτριο στο περί των οικονομικών της Αρχιεπισκοπής μήνυμά του προς το πλήρωμα της Εκκλησίας: «... ας έχουμε πάντα κατά νουν ότι είμεθα η φωνή του Χριστού...». Προσθέσαμε ότι αυτό σημαίνει ότι «κάνουμε ό,τι μας γουστάρει και φωνάζετε εσείς όσο θέλετε».

Η φράση αυτή του Σεβασμιωτάτου με κυνηγά από τότε. Είναι ο κ. Δημήτριος η «φωνή του Χριστού», ή ο ερμηνευτής της υπέροχης διδασκαλίας του Θεανθρώπου; Είναι ο Πάπας και οι υπόλοιποι ηγέτες των άλλων χριστιανικών Εκκλησιών και οι αμέτρητοι μητροπολίτες των διαφόρων δογμάτων «η φωνή του Χριστού»;


Read More



The Orthodox Observer


THE Archdiocese of America’s official publication was a purely religious periodical that ran without ads up until 1975. Following the decisions of the Clergy-Laity Congress of 1974 regarding the autonomy of our Church and the use of English in the Divine Liturgy, the two Greek-American daily newspapers of that era, The National Herald and Atlantis, launched a campaign against those resolutions until they were rejected by Patriarch Athenagoras.


Read More



The Winds of Change



CHANGE is a constant in nature and in life. And the question is never whether change is good or bad, but how effective we are in adapting to change. This is as true in business as it is in any other discipline or field. And the restaurant business is no different. Currently there is a Category Four Hurricane forming in the industry, and it’s time to take notice and to put systems in place to adapt. The wind of change that I’m referring to? Delivery.

I know, I know. Just the mention of the word stirs your blood. But remember, there’s nothing you can do about the change. You can complain that it’s not a good change until you’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that more and more food consumers are opting to have their meals delivered in.

Read More