These Greeks are bearing gifts no one is wary of.
The Mitilineos family — the family behind Hellenic Third Avenue hot spot Something Greek in Bay Ridge — has been trucking tasty Mediterranean treats across the Narrows to Hurricane Sandy-ravaged Staten Island ever since the storm hit.
Katerina Mitilineos said the idea to lend a hand — or a plate — to the recovery effort came from her mother, Pauline, upon witnessing the extent of the devastation that befell the neighboring borough.
“A lot of people are hurt and we’re trying to help,” said Mitilineos, who lives on the Rock in mostly unscathed Bay Terrace with her mother and four brothers. “We’ve seen how bad it is. Staten Island was probably hardest hit, and nobody’s gone down there, not the Federal Emergency Management Agency, not the Red Cross, and people there are hungry and cold.”
But in spite of the destruction of homes and lives, the atmosphere at clean-ups where Something Greek has visited — including a recent one in New Dorp Beach sponsored by Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge) — have been surprisingly hopeful and upbeat.
“They’re so friendly down there. You’d think they’d be in shock, but people are laughing,” Mitilineos said. “They’re all coming together.”
Mitilineos knows from personal experience how cooking can bring comfort in difficult times: she says her family opened Something Greek near 76th Street in 2010 after her father passed away.
“We opened the restaurant because food was something that always kept us together,” she said. “That’s a big part of what we’re trying to do now.”