2010-02-10 / Restaurant of the Week

Family Corner Tastes Like Home

amily Corner is truly a family affair, run by brothers George and Philippou and father, Spiro Kavadias. For 20 years, Family Corner has occupied its quaint corner of Astoria on 31st Street and 21st Avenue and has continuously served home style dishes, many made from family recipes, in this petite, diner-style eatery that holds a mere 27 seats.

Spiro and the boys know all of their customers by name and indeed many come in and simply ask for “the usual”, and the grill man springs into action. Lilly, the friendly waitress, is also a regular customer, so when she’s not working at Family Corner, she’s eating there! Indeed several regular diners were happy to offer me their own testimonials. Salvatore proclaims the Yankee bean soup “excellent”, only to be outdone by the lentil soup made on Tuesdays. Nearly everything is house made here, including three different soups each day, daily specials and Spiro’s own spinach pie, made with spinach and three other greens and feta cheese, all wrapped in a flaky crust.

Weekdays begin at the crack of dawn to serve the hungry throngs who come for delicious egg sandwiches with cheese, bacon, sausage or ham. Pancakes and French toast are also popular, especially on the weekends, when there’s plenty of time to enjoy a hearty breakfast. Omelets are filled with your choice of feta cheese, mushrooms, veggies, cheese and more. Muffins and bagels can be packed up to go, on your way to work. Best of all, breakfast can be ordered any time of day or night.

Lunchtime offers a huge array of sandwiches, both hot and cold, wraps, and juicy burgers as well as hearty entrees. Try an Italian wrap with chicken, mozzarella and tomato, or a Philly wrap with grilled steak, onions, peppers and melted cheese. A classic BLT or grilled cheese sandwich costs only $4 and goes very well with a cup of their homemade soups. Gyro and souvlaki sandwiches are made throughout the day, filled with lettuce, tomato and the family’s tzatziki sauce. Try the chicken souvlaki or pork souvlaki, or fill a pita with crunchy falafel. Don’t forget the juicy burgers, with all your favorite toppings. There are also veggie burgers and turkey burgers for a healthier choice. Order some golden, crispy French fries to accompany any sandwich.

Family Corner has a secret recipe for their grilled chicken. It’s all in the marinade, which is a closely held secret. The result is tender, juicy, thin sliced chicken breast that goes into lots of the sandwiches and wraps, such as the Caesar wrap ($5.50). One of their specialties is the crunchy Greek salad topped with grilled chicken breast. This generously sized salad had lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chunks of feta cheese and stuffed grape leaves. In contrast, the warm, grilled chicken was juicy and perfectly grilled. The house dressing was just right too. This makes a great lunch or dinner item, served with triangles of warm pita bread to soak up the zesty dressing ($8.50). You can also order a Caesar salad, with or without chicken, to stay or to go.

Each night, there are special entrees that may include grilled skirt steak with peppers and onions, stew, fish of the day, and some Greek specialties such as moussaka and pastitsio. On the menu you’ll find chicken cutlet platters, lamb chops, pork chops and fried shrimp in a basket. Kids have a special menu too. Whatever you order, it will be served with a smile.

Save room for Family Corner’s desserts, most of which are made in house. I loved their creamy rice pudding with a touch of cinnamon. Spiro’s baklava is legendary or enjoy a hunk of apple pie. The coffee is great too. Visit Family Corner, open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime snack. Family run for 20 years in the heart of Astoria!
21-02 31st Street, Astoria • 718.204.7915

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