ARDSLEY, N.Y. – Steve Vagianos grew up in Greece, moved to the United States in 1969 and has been serving homemade Greek food in the New York area ever since.
Vagianos opened Downtown Restaurant in Ardsley last week after 43 years in the food industry in New York City and said he knows how make people happy.
“People who know how to eat like good food,” Vagianos said. “I make everything from scratch. Most places buy all frozen food, which is much easier, but it’s not as good.”
Downtown Restaurant’s menu includes Greek favorites – moussaka, pastitso, spanakopita, souvlaki and gyros – as well as American dishes. Vagianos said he learned about the restaurant business by working at his father-in-law’s restaurant when he moved here from Greece. Vagianos said business has been better every day since opening, but he plans to build up business slowly, without a grand opening, to make sure customers get the best service possible.
“My main concern is to please everyone,” Vagianos said. “If people have a complaint, they can tell me and I’ll take care of it and make it right.”
Ross Blau, Vagianos’ nephew and manager of the restaurant, said moving from New York City to Hastings allowed the restaurant to prosper in a less hectic environment with a greater focus on creating a family atmosphere. The sleek design of the dinning area, along with artwork inspired by the city, is meant to give the family restaurant an urban feel and bring city flare to Westchester, Blau said.
“In Westchester, Greek restaurants tend to be few and far between,” Blau said. “The aesthetic of the place draws people in without having to drive an hour to the city.”
Blau said most of the recipes are family traditions that have been passed down for 60 years, including chicken souvlaki and cheesecake, two of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
Downtown Restaurant is at 731 Saw Mill River Road in Ardsley. It is open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. For more information or to see its menu, visit Downtown Restaurant’s website.