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General News

Easter in Astoria Is Alive and Well, Greek Stores Doing a Brisk Business

ASTORIA – Pascha in the New York Metropolitan area will be both spiritually and socially uplifting this year as many Greek-Americans and their friends and relatives will proclaim ‘Christos Anesti’ and convey their love in person for the first time since 2019. Doing their part this year – as they did heroically during the first two years of the pandemic – are the shops and restaurants of the Community, especially in Astoria.

Giannis Stratigakis, owner of the International Meat Market, told The National Herald that, “business ahead of Easter is going well so far. The public is buying, as usual, the well-known items: lamb, goat, kokoretsi, and sausages. Unfortunately, prices are more expensive than last year. The lamb we offer goes from $12.99 to 13.99 per pound, depending on the size.”

Greeks and non-Greeks alike flocking to Astoria to prepare for Easter take a break at Mikel Coffee, left to right: Despina Delkou, George Monogioudis, Jeanellie Lanzie, Eleni Pappa, and Dimitris Petridis. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

At Mediterranean Foods, Vasilis Tentolouris also said business is brisk. “The world is in a much better place” regarding the pandemic, “than the last two years. People feel better about things, and they are going shopping and there is no shortage of products. Prices have gone up not because of the products, but due to shipping coasts, 20-30% increases. At any rate, they are shopping for everything in anticipation of Easter – the eggs to paint red, cheese pies, spinach pies, and all cheeses for the table.” He  concluded by wishing ‘Chronia polla’, good health, and a Happy Pascha to all – and thank you Greek community for supporting Mediterranean.”

Dimitris Petridis, owner of Gyro World and of the new Mikel Coffee in Astoria, emphasized that for “the first Easter after the pandemic, with people more relaxed, we will finally celebrate again with relatives and friends.

“Life has begun again – the world is being liberated. We are seeing tourists, as the airports have opened, and we are doing very well – every day things are better and better. We have many orders for Easter pick-up. We wish the world peace and health above all.”

People focused on preparing meals for their families and guests, and have also been shopping in places like New Bakaliko in Hicksville, NY, and Giannis Gatzonis’ Akropolis Meat Market in Astoria.

At International Meat Market in Astoria, shoppers select choice cuts of meat, especially lamb, for the Easter feast. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

For some people, dinner is just an excuse for dessert, for the rest, dessert is what crowns a meal. Giannis Arvanitis of the renowned Omonia Café in Astoria told TNH, “American Easter was very good. For Greek Easter, it is early. People usually shop on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during Holy Week. We have had a slight increase in business so far, but we will see them all in the last four days. People are buying cookies, tsourekia – Easter bread – lots of tsourekia, and Easter eggs. Prices are a bit high, as everything has gone up, the price of eggs and butter have gone up, but we are keeping the prices low so that people can shop. ‘Chronia polla’ to Hellenes all over the whole world. I wish everyone a good Pascha and may God be with us.”

For more ready made desserts there is also the delicious Pi Bakerie co-owned by Anthi Aggelou in Manhattan’s Soho, the delightful Elite Pastries in Bayside, and the famous Lefkos Pyrgos in Astoria, where guests will be greeted and wished chronia polla by owner Julie Pantazis. Panagiotis Peikidis will be just as welcoming at Cafe Boulis in Astoria.

And for those festive meals beyond our homes, guests will be greeted with open arms by Giorgos Tsampas at King Souvlaki in Astoria, Christos Christou at Yefsi Estiatorio in Manhattan, Dimitris Karousis at Nick’s Lobster House on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, Anna Kommatas at Bahari in Astoria, Bessy Arvanitis at Anemos Estiatorio in Manalapan, NJ, Margarita Dimou at BZ Grill in Astoria, Stavros Kokkosis at the Sayville Aegean Cafe, Billy Kokoronis at Tzatziki Greek Grill in New Rochelle, NY, Zoi Liakopoulos at Greco Boston, Giannis Apostolopoulos at El Dorado – and all the proprietors and managers at all our wonderful restaurants, cafes, and lounges.

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