After nearly two decades serving Ridgefielders, the owner of Dimitri’s Diner decided to open an authentic Greek eatery just a short walk away.
“I have 18 years in Ridgefield. So, people, they trust me,” said Dimitrios Paschalidis.
The 72-year-old who has run 10 restaurants — all diners — decided he wanted a new challenge and to bring a bit of his native country to Ridgefield, so he opened Gyro on Pita at 91 Danbury Road.
“It’s authentic Greek specialities,” he said. “For that reason I brought special chef from Greece.”
Unlike a diner, which has a diverse menu, Gyro in Pita has trimmed down offerings.
The chicken, pork, lamb and beef roasted on site.
What makes an authentic gyro?
“First of all it is fresh meat and quality meat,” Mr. Paschalidis said. Also, “it’s the way it’s cooked.”
Gyro meat is roasted on a vertical spit.
“You don’t see this in Connecticut. You can go in New York, but in Connecticut you don’t see this.”
After 10 diners and many decades in the business, Mr. Paschalidis said it wasn’t a walk in the park starting Gyro on Pita, but it was able to be opened in an astonishingly speedy two and a half months, in part because of a speedy interior renovation.
(A slide show of the construction work will accompany this story on TheRidgefieldPress.com)
“Always it’s not easy starting a new business, especially the help.”
The location was also a little tough.
The shop is a little tucked away — not visible from the heavily trafficked road it’s on, so Mr. Paschalidis is relying on word of mouth and advertising for people to learn the shop is there.
“I’d say [the customers are a] 95% different group” from Dimitri’s customers, he said. Many people who work in the area, including the nearby Copps Hill Plaza, walk do Gyro on Pita at lunchtime, he said.
Unlike Dimitri’s, Gyro on Pita is not a sit-down restaurant, though there are some tables. It’s considered “food retail” in zoning terminology. With people not staying as long, town zoning regulations require for fewer parking spaces for food retail business than they do for restaurants, but it also limits the number of tables allowed, according to Town Planner Betty Brosius.
Mr. Paschalidis expects credit cards will be accepted soon — an increasingly expected service, he said.
So why did Mr. Paschalidis want to make more work for himself? The “retirement aged” Mr. Paschalidis talks about possible franchising of Gyro on Pita, and maybe opening something up on Main Street.
“I never learned to play golf,” he said. “My one almost hobby is I love to read…. How much can I read?… I don’t want to argue with my wife… Better to be busy, do something!”
Gyro on Pita is open 8 to 8 weekdays and 8 to 6 Saturday and Sunday.
More info: 203-438-7100.