We say ‘opa!’ to former Greektown namesake on its 20th anniversary.

By Danny Raskin

Photos courtesy of Uptown Parthenon

 

Forty-two years ago, New Parthenon Greek restaurant opened its doors in Greektown Detroit … It had been doing a booming business even when gambling casinos came … But not as much as before the coming of MGM Casino in 1993, Greektown Casino in 2000 and nearby Motor City Casino on Grand River in 1999 … When people enveloped the Downtown area and crowded them to the rafters … with many visitors even forsaking and forgetting about eating.

Among them, the owners of New Parthenon noticed the large number of people from Northwest areas of West Bloomfield plus its nearby suburban cities … So came the brilliant idea of bringing its same menu to them.

Leo Stassinopoulos, Polyvios Panagopoulos and Tony Hadjisofroniou

Thus, 20 years ago in December of 1998, came the new Uptown Parthenon … The ownership of brothers Polyvios and Jimmy Panagopoulos, Leo (of Coney Island fame) and nephew John Stassinopoulos found an exact place, remodeled it from the ground up and opened Uptown Parthenon Greek restaurant near Kroger’s on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield’s Crosswinds Center, just east of Lone Pine.

As it now celebrates its 20th anniversary … and the recent selling of Greektown’s New Parthenon … a stroke of sheer genius is recalled that made Uptown Parthenon the talk of many … The immediate bringing of its general manager, Tony Hadjisofroniou, who had before coming to New Parthenon owned half-partnership in another Greektown restaurant, to operate Uptown Parthenon … The selling of New Parthenon has also brought Polyvios’ brother Dimitri (Jimmy) to assist Tony.

Uptown Parthenon, highly noted for its marvelous double-boned lamb chops among a bevy of authentic house-made and prepared Greek dishes, makes its own rice pudding, baklava, Parthenon cake, custard, etc. … is also widely acclaimed for its own baked lamb … among other items, some of which cannot be gotten elsewhere.

There are no cans to be found … and its own soups are a joy … Plus, the exclusive preparation of Neframia (roast loin of lamb) … It is all Greek, but a couple of American sandwiches, too … the almighty hamburger and cheeseburger to go along with a Greek Burger … Even whitefish and salmon.

Uptown Parthenon is a thing of beauty, seating 225 amid a sea of Greek artifacts … Its bar accommodates 16 more … Open seven days a week 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Its cleanliness is noted … and most deserving of the many hurrahs regularly received as Uptown Parthenon celebrates 20 years in business.

REARVIEW MIRROR … The tiny kitchen run by Harold and Wyn Landis at yesteryear’s Leo Adler’s Harbor Bar was wonderful … What great 8-ounce hamburgers … And those house specialty cheese blintzes always tasted like flaky thin pancakes wrapped around a cream cheese or cottage cheese filling and topped with sour cream or strawberry jam … Even a delicious dilly of a tenderloin steak, chops and all kinds of yummy sandwiches.

IT IS A GOOD example of why small restaurants should not be noted only by their size … They have a unique role in today’s society, providing the public with one of the last vestiges of true enterprise and many times the owner of his or her inventiveness … Where a family can enjoy each other’s company without having to do the dishes.

ERRATA … Owner of Nonna Maria is John Gallagher, not John McDonald.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … Four young novice nuns were about to take their vows … Dressed in their white gowns, they came into the chapel with the ceremony to marry them to Jesus, making them each a “bride of Christ.”

Just as the ceremony was about to begin, four Chasidic Jews with yarmulkes, long sideburns and long beards came in and sat in the front row.

The Mother Superior said to them, “I am honored that you want to share this experience with us, but do you mind if I ask why you came?”

“We’re from the groom’s side.”

CONGRATS … To Sue Maniloff on her birthday … To Marsha Ellman on her birthday … To Al and Marilyn Frommer on their 59th anniversary.

Danny’s email address is dannyraskin2132@gmail.com.

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