Eliana Stefanitsis majored in philosophy in college, something that makes sense for a woman growing up with a Greek heritage. But more fitting is the fact that her father has been in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years.
“I grew up in the restaurant business,” she said.
Now, she serves as vice president of the newly opened Molos in Weehawken. The ribbon cutting on Dec. 9 brought out scores of people: well-wishers, local political people, business people and just ordinary folk who missed having a quality restaurant at that location.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said various government bodies, from the Planning Board to the Town Council, worked with the Stefanitsis family to get the place open after the site had remained vacant for nearly four years.
This site formerly housed Arthur’s Landing, which closed its doors in 2009.
Jerry Stefanitsis said he previously owned businesses in New York City, starting in 1980, and that the current site on New Jersey side of the Hudson intrigued him.
Although the menu boasts of Greek and Mediterranean food with chef Athanasios Liavas, Jerry hopes to draw from potential customers with diverse tastes, including commuters who might be coming and going by way of the nearby NY Waterways ferry.
“This is a great use of this building.” – Mayor Richard Turner
The restaurant had a soft opening in November, and the hours currently cater to dinner crowds, but this is expected to change as word gets out about its opening, and the hours will be increased to cover lunch as well.
Working with NY Waterways, the restaurant intends to take advantage of the bus service that transports passengers from the ferry to various locations along the waterfront. The establishment may also offer a dinner and theater package, which will allow patrons to dine in Weehawken and then take in shows in Manhattan via the ferry and its transportation network.
With views of Manhattan and the Hudson River, the name Molos is appropriate for a number of reasons. In Greek, it means “the pier where fishermen gather with their daily catch.”
The restaurant will allow diners to select fresh whole fish that are displayed on a bed of ice, a Greek tradition. Fresh fish will be flown in daily from the Mediterranean and other places in the world.
Eliana said the restaurant will have a full menu of Mediterranean specialties, but this won’t preclude ordering fillet mignon.
The two-floored restaurant has glass on three sides with spectacular views. Downstairs seats about 170 people in the main dining area. Upstairs, which can seat up to 165 people, offers accommodations for catered parties, weddings receptions, and engagements.
A small bar, Eliana said, allows people to meet others prior to dinner.
Arthur Imperatore, Sr., founder of NY Waterways, said he wore his Greek fisherman’s hat just for the occasion. He said the restaurant will provide jobs as well as cuisine that is not found locally.
Turner said the town has been concerned about that location since Arthur’s Landing shut its doors in February, 2009.
“This is a great use of this building,” Turner said. “We never want to have a vacancy on the waterfront.”
Father Christos Pappa from Fairview gave the blessing, using a sprig of basil to cast the holy water, a tradition that goes back to St. Helena, who used basil to determine the true cross Christ had died upon. Blessings of this kind are common, offering to provide a level of protection to people who start out on new ventures. While everyone hopes for success, the blessing is designed to offer protection and hope for the future.
Located at 1 Pershing Road, Molos is open 5 to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.