Staten Island Souvlaki Tycoon Mike Moudatsos Buys Hinsch’s

My big, fat Greek … Hinsch’s?

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Hinsch’s is about to get some Greek flavor.

Staten Island Hellenic diner mogul Mike Moudatsos is taking over the iconic Ridge eatery from neighborhood pals Roger Desmond, Gerard Bell, and Bill Gardell — and though there will be some new Mediterranean tastes on the menu, the new owner promises the essentials at 65-year-old greasy spoon will stay the same.

Moudatsos said the name of the Fifth Avenue staple will remain, only with “Mike’s” attached to it, as will the candy, egg creams, and ice cream that Ridgites have eaten for generations.

Moudatsos’s radical redesign of a classic A&W car-hop on Staten Island in 2009 may make Hinsch’s fans worry about the fate of the Ridge institution, but the souvlaki savant pledged to honor the ice cream parlor’s legacy.

“We’re going to try to keep the place like it is, we’re not going to go crazy,” said Moudatsos. “The place has been here 60-plus years, and people like the place, the neighborhood wants it to stay the way it is.”

But the menu will now include the souvlaki and spanakopita Moudatsos has made popular at his five locations on the other side of the Narrows, plus classic Greek diner items like cheesecake and hot open sandwiches. Moudatsos also plans to replace broken-down booths and tables, repair the cracked counter and floor, and put in Japanese lanterns. The old-school neon signs outside will stay — though Moudatsos will raise the word “Mike’s” atop the “Hinsch’s” over the door.

“Everybody we asked about it, loved it,” said Moudatsos’s son Lee, who will run the new Hinsch’s. “We just want to freshen it up a bit.”

The buyout came as a relief to Desmond and his partners — who bought the failing Hinsch’s in 2011, and were lately considering desperate schemes like letting nighttime customers bring their own alcohol to keep the ice cream parlor afloat.

“After you spend a year and a half breaking your a-- trying to make something work, and it isn’t profitable, you get tired of it. So when I found out he was interested, I said, ‘be my guest,’ ” Desmond said.

But Lee Moudatsos said he was confident his family, with their 40 years of business experience, could keep the soda fountain flowing even with $9,000 rent on the space between 85th and 86th streets and competition from nearby fast food joints.

“We’ve been running diners all my life. If we can’t do it, I don’t know who can,” Moudatsos said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at

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Reasonable discourse

Nicole from Brooklyn says:
March 9, 2013, 9:30 pm
Mark from Bay Ridge says:
Huh. So this guy wants the place, is sure he can make a go of it, and not one hesitation about food carts! (-Cue the insane chorus of anti-food-carts-but-too-lazy-to-clean-up-their-own-lousy-bars brigade-)
March 12, 2013, 10:57 am
ed from br says:
"broken-down booths and tables," "cracked counter and floor" -- at least THIS guy noticed that the place looks beat-up and worn-out.
March 13, 2013, 12:25 pm
TomKo from Bulls Head, SI says:
Mike has an empire of dinners here in Staten Island. In recent years he bought 3 near me where the previous owners were retiring. He has invested a lot of money sprucing up those dinners. I am certain that once he is done with Hinsch's the locals will be happy.
March 13, 2013, 1:20 pm
Ed from BR says:
If Mr. M succeeds, it'll be because he did an objective overhaul of a limping, noncompetitive business that previously expected nostalgia to trump its mediocre food-service-ambiance.

But blindered nostalgists wil ust notice that Hinsch's is saaaaved, and won't notice what this fellow had to do to save it, spiff it and drag it into 2013 relevancy.

And other wackjobs (State Sen Golden included) will insist that Ancient Hinsch's was killed by halal carts ... not by its uninspiring food or next-door burger joints or nearby Subway and DD. (And maaan, you think that when I want a sit-down-inside meal I'll opt for a foil-wrapped street sandwich? Or that I wouldn't skip Old Hinsch's for better nearby coffee shopsi?)
March 15, 2013, 2:39 pm
Lorena from Staten Island says:
I am sure he will do somethng awesome out if it! and people arount the Hinsch will be really happy!
March 18, 2013, 5:37 pm
Annemarie from Brooklyn says:
Good luck!
March 23, 2013, 4:35 pm

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