STATEN ISLAND, NY – Waitress Lois Donofrio and Executive Chef Emil Habaschi have created countless dishes at The Colonnade Diner over the course of decades working together. In this episode of The Dish, the two loyal employees have chosen their favorite dishes to pair with some customer favorites and Greek specialities.
But overall, the 8-ounce burger with fries and a grilled chicken salad with Kalamata olives, creamy feta, and veggies with toasted pita tops are consistently top-shelf, say the chef and Lois. If a guest wants something a little heartier, the kitchen presents pan-fried whole flounder and platters of meaty lamb chops with hash browns and broccoli.
The breakfast is enormous, says Lois. Serving up hundreds of pancakes — including fruit-filled versions — and omelettes in one weekend is an understatement.
How does the restaurant deal with such volume?
Lois explains the diner format where the waiter really comes first. She remembers her days at Toto’s Restaurant, formerly on New Dorp Lane, where the role of a waiter or waitress was just bringing the food to the customers. At The Colonnade, tasks include a waiter or waitress scooping the soup, toasting the toast, and portioning the pickles with the diner’s famous creamy cole slaw. Yes, it’s quite a bit of extra work compared to a traditional sit-down restaurant. But Lois wouldn’t want it anyway.
Watch this episode of The Dish, a live program streamed every Wednesday at 11:30am from the Advance’s Facebook page. Come into the Colonnade’s sparkling kitchen to see where the cooking and setting up takes place. Compared to other rooms we checked out together on The Dish, it’s pretty massive back there!
By the way, the 24-hour days are over at The Colonnade. Service hours are now daily from 7:00 a.m. to midnight at 2001 Hylan Boulevard.
The restaurant is owned by Marco Platis and was founded in 1975. It seats about 300 guests and has a private party room as well as an outdoor area called the Santorini Grill. As such, the outdoor section is named after Platis’ hometown in Greece.
The diner can be reached at 718-351-2900.
Pamela Silvestri is Advance Food Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]