The Ponte Vedra Recorder - Page 32

32 Community News The Recorder · October 8, 2015 Greek treasures found near the sea Photos by Leigh Cort/Special to The Recorder Inside Georgie’s Diner Leigh Cort Special to The Recorder George Chryssaidis loves life in historic St. Augustine, where he knows everyone, similar to his hometown of Frixa, a small Greek village with a parallel heart and soul. Local residents and visitors to the ‘ancient city’ feel as if they know George too, who is always present at his three restaurants from Leigh Cort early morning til Table Talk the city lights beleighcort@bellsouth.net gin to dim. Since 2001, his first venture, Athena Café, exudes the simple heritage of Greece, featuring hand-painted murals that cover three walls and depict the Greek countryside; a place where hundreds of years and generations of family culture found joy in tending their olive groves. The restaurant’s casual ambience on Cathedral Place is so comfortable that early each morning the ‘big boys of St. Augustine’ meet for breakfast and conversation, sometimes solving the city’s issues while carrying on a tradition of fellowship in ‘George’s house’. Who can resist Athena Café’s authen- French Toast at Georgie’s Diner tic homemade Moussaka — layers of meat, eggplant, tomato and Béchamel sauce, baked to perfection. Classically crafted Spanikopita — freshly chopped spinach and Feta cheese in a golden brown puffed pastry served with Greek Salad — can’t be found anywhere else in St. Augustine. Souvlaki, warm Pita bread with Tzatziki sauce, open-faced Gyro sandwiches and a lengthy menu of pastas, steaks, chops, kebobs, fresh seafood and luscious Baklava — everything is prepared here and made to order. It’s one of the City’s most popular breakfast spots served until 2 p.m. lunch until 4 p.m. and dinner until… By 2006, George was ready for his second city adventure. A stylized red and silver 1950s-era diner was waiting for ‘Georgie’. Many locals recall when the Greyhound Bus Station was headquartered on Malaga Street where Georgie’s Diner now serves oldfashioned breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cozy diner booths inside and canopied seating outside keep guests happy whether stopping in for a quick bite, power lunch or late night supper. TABLE TALK continues on Page 34