Plattsburgh restaurant rescues neighboring eatery with ‘kitchen takeover’

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 6:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 8:23 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - So many times during the pandemic, we have heard bad news, so we take every opportunity we can to show stories of kindness spread throughout communities. Kelly O’Brien shows us the true meaning of neighbors helping neighbors.

Aleka’s Restaurant in downtown Plattsburgh may have its lights off, but it is very much open. Last week, the well-known Greek restaurant got the news that it needed to close for a second time this year.

“I actually laughed at it, another obstacle for 2020,” said Peter Kritziotis, the restaurant’s owner. He says the building was closed by the Plattsburgh building inspector. “To make it a quick summary, our outer wall is compromised. Therefore, it is not safe for me to be in my kitchen and operate anything in my kitchen.”

The neighbors next door, Olive Ridley’s Taphouse& Grill, have been known to lend a hand in the past. “We share a parking lot,” said Kritziotis. “How are we going to help each other? And it’s always been that way.”

James “Jungle” Guyette Jr., Olive Ridley’s general manager says Kritziotis looked distraught when he saw him in the parking lot Tuesday and he explained his predicament, “He jokingly said to me, ‘You have room for a Greek restaurant in there?’ And I said, ‘Well, we might.’”

This week the restaurants teamed up, working out of one kitchen and offering two different menus to guests. “With the professionalism from all staff, we know it will work out,” said Guyette.

Kritziotis said because of the “kitchen takeover” offer, he would not need to lay off any staff. “All of my staff members are working and not affecting Olive Ridley’s Staff,” he said.

Once seated, guests will be offered the same experience, the full menu, and the taste they would at each respective restaurant. Just a neighbor helping a neighbor in need, something that is nothing new to the North Country. “One of the reason’s I love to live here is because I consider this the North Country way,” Guyette said.

Both owners say they don’t know how long this kitchen takeover will last, but Kritziotis did say he has no plans to close Aleka’s in the Lake City any time soon.

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