RINGWOOD, N.J. – Diners are a family affair for Peter Katsihtis.
His father owned a diner in Yonkers, his cousins own about a dozen in Manhattan, and he and his wife Sophia owned one in Brooklyn.
But after six years, the commute from their Waldwick home to their Brooklyn diner got to be too much. After Peter saw an ad in a Greek magazine about a diner for sale in Ringwood – just about 20 minutes from home – they decided to make a big change.
“We always wanted to own a diner in Jersey,” said Sophia, sitting at a table in their new Ringwood Avenue eatery, Lakeside Diner.
Peter and Sophia officially opened the restaurant on January 23.
“Opening week, I didn’t expect it to be that big. I was surprised,” said Peter, recalling “non-stop” lines from opening to closing every day.
Peter said the business has received “big time support” from residents of Ringwood and Wanaque.
“We are very thankful for everybody, and that’s from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
The spot has received rave reviews on Yelp.
“Glad to have this diner in town. Food is really good, service is good … I will certainly be coming back,” one reviewer wrote.
“The food was fantastic and very tasty,” another wrote.
The restaurant serves classic, homemade diner fair, like omelets, wraps, salads, burgers and entrees like meatloaf and chicken marsala. It also serves Mediterranean dishes like gyro and chicken souvlaki sandwiches.
“So far everyone is loving our Greek spinach pie. It is a hot sell here,” Sophia said.
Peter – who has worked in the service industry both in Greece and the United States – said when he sees people enjoy their food he knows, “you did something right, you did something good.”
“The more you see people appreciate it, the more it makes you work harder,” he said.
Peter said he is making “a big promise” to the community. “We are going to be better and better every day,” he said.