No Fear Here: How Niko’s Souvlaki Persevered Despite The Pandemic
By Loulou Chryssides
Photo/Athena Alex Studi
Home to dozens of Michelin-guide restaurants and cuisines spanning continents, Astoria has become known for being one of New York City’s culinary centers. Walk to any corner in the neighborhood and get introduced to a different corner of the globe. Hundreds of restaurants call Astoria home. So, when COVID-19 hit the city, many were left with tough decisions to make. And, within the first month, billions of dollars in revenue were lost due to restrictions on dining to curb the spread of the virus.
Fortunately, restrictions have eased up and paths have been formed for restaurants to function at a slightly more normal level. Outdoor dining has been permitted in New York City for the last couple of months and will remain in place through October 31st of this year. Delivery and takeout have also been options for patrons who prefer to dine at home.
And then, there are the restaurants who have opened despite all of the potential challenges. Since March, a handful of new restaurants have successfully opened throughout the neighborhood. Their brave and bold decisions show us what it means to be ‘Astoria Strong’.
One such establishment is Niko’s Souvlaki, located at 19-33 Ditmars Boulevard. Known for its authentic Greek dishes such as handcrafted gyros, souvlaki, and biftekia (patties), Niko’s Souvlaki fast gained attention for opening during an uncertain moment in time. The restaurant has been highlighted by The Wall Street Journal, NBC New York, and more.
Niko’s Souvlaki had initially been set to open before the pandemic started, however due to challenges stemming from the virus its opening was temporarily delayed. However, owner Niko Lamprou believes in the motto of ‘fortune favors the bold’, and ultimately decided to open up shop in April.
“The community hugged us (from a distance) from day one. It makes us feel so great and unique, we feel blessed for the positive reception, repeat customers, and general vibe of community love. We built up our delivery clients in the beginning due to takeout and delivery restrictions, but it turns out people were excited to have a new option, especially during the tough times of the quarantine. Since we opened our patio, more and more people are coming in to taste our food and enjoy the ambiance of our corner spot by Astoria park. We couldn’t love our location more. We live in the neighborhood and have loved becoming a part of the community”, said Lamprou.
19-33 Ditmars Blvd.