Aleka’s-Tyler Puchrik, head chef at Aleka’s in downtown Plattsburgh, plates a Greek steak.
PLATTSBURGH — The food at Aleka's in downtown Plattsburgh is more than a meal—it’s a celebration.
The restaurant is co-owned by Peter Kritziotis and Silvio Amaya, who also owns Giuseppe's Pizza Shop in Plattsburgh.
Kritziotis has owned restaurants in the area for 12 years, and said the idea behind his newest venture was not to compete with the other businesses downtown, but to instead offer something new.
Since Kritziotis and Amaya have been friends for more than 10 years, they decided to fuse the two types of food they specialize in—Greek and Italian—under one roof.
The result was Aleka's, which opened Feb. 9.
The restaurant is named after Kritziotis’ daughter, Aleka, who will be four years old in March.
“Downtown Plattsburgh does not need another pizzeria,” Kritziotis said. “That’s not what we’re trying to be.”
Aleka’s does have a few pizzas on its menu, but it isn’t their specialty—that’s their traditional Greek fare, like souvlaki and gyro, and their homemade Italian dishes, like shrimp scampi and chicken marsala.
There are also items on the menu for people with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets.
And, with the exception of the mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers, everything is handmade and cooked to order.
“We make everything here the way I would make it in my own kitchen,” Kritziotis said.
To wash it all down, Aleka’s will soon have a selection of Greek beers, which are comparable to Belgian and German beers, to add to its selection of international wines.
The beverages were hand-picked to compliment the dishes offered at the restaurant, a way of rounding out the dining atmosphere Kritziotis and Amaya strive to create.
“Customers might have to wait a little longer for their food when they come in here, but that's part of the experience,” Kritziotis said. “This restaurant is based on celebrating food every time you visit.”
Opening a new business is always a risk, but that's what Kritziotis said Plattsburgh needs.
“Downtown needs people to take a risk,” he said. “What I want is to be a staple in Plattsburgh. I want to offer people something different to help bring them downtown so other businesses can grow, too. ”
The robust business Aleka’s has experienced might indicate that Kritziotis is succeeding at drawing people downtown, and the loyalty of his staff might be evidence that he is becoming a staple in the area, too.
Many of Kritziotis’ employees have worked for him for years, a notable feat in an industry where the turnover rate can be high.
Tyler Puchrik, head chef at Aleka’s, has worked for Kritziotis for 10 years.
Puchrik and most of Aleka’s staff pitched in to renovate the space in preparation for the restaurant’s grand opening.
“I’ve had to adjust to it being outrageously busy, but it’s been great,” Puchrik said. “We put a lot of heart into our food, and we want to make sure every single customer walks out of here happy.”
Aleka’s is located at 103 Margaret St. in Plattsburgh and is open every day.
Mon.-Wed, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Thurs. and Fri., 10:30 a.m.-midnight; Sat., 11 a.m.-midnight and Sun., noon-8 p.m.
For more information, call (518) 310-3200 or visit facebook.com/Alekasgrill