TV Diner's Billy Costa with Athenian Corner owner
The crew from TV Diner dines at the Athenian Corner
along with WCAP's Merrimack Magazine morning team
Destinations: Athenian Corner
(NECN) - Located in the heart of downtown Lowell,
Massachusetts, part of the Historic District, the
Athenian Corner brings you the largest variety of fine
Greek food in New England.
Since 1974, the
Panagiotopoulos family has been proudly serving quality
dishes and generous portions at affordable prices.
Stop by for daily
luncheon specials, mouth watering dinner entrees, or
take it to go.
If a night on the town
is your pleasure, the Athenian Corner offers live
entertainment Thursday through Saturday evenings.
Dance the night away to
the Greek and Middle Eastern music of the Fred Elias
ensemble, and let one of the enchanting belly dancers
captivate your heart.
Billy Costa and Jenny Johnson were in Lowell earlier
this week, and I was a fly on the wall during their
three-hour tour of Lowell’s nosh joints.
Surprisingly the trim and bubbly NECN TV Diner
personalities actually eat. They dug right into
Greek salads at the Athenian Corner (that's where I
snapped this pic of Costa and AC owner Teddy Panos),
coffee and sweets at Lowell High School's courtyard
rest. and pad thai at the Blue Taleh. Even the
camera man was wolfing down sandwiches at Lowell
High School’s Courtyard rest. Costa really is a
professional. The guy is like a sponge. He would
meditate over the dishes, memorizing every
ingredient the chef infused. And just when you think
there's no way he's gonna retain it all, the camera
snaps on and he rattles them off like old friends.
That's TV for ya! The show airs on NECN March 22 and
is sure to boost sales at downtown eateries.
Traipsing around town w/ TV Diner solidified my
dogged pursuit of chronciling our local, thriving
scene. A year ago when this blog launched, Centro
and Blue Taleh were distant dreams. To see Costa
cosy up to the bars and swoon, made me feel that my
work here has not been misspent. Meanwhile, old
standbys like Athenian Corner continue to impress
and reinvent themselves. Such is the hallmark of a
true dining destination.
Board members also voted 7-0 in favor of plans to renovate
and expand the Athenian Corner restaurant at 205
Market St., and construct a new building on the restaurant's
parking lot at 35 Shattuck St.
Developer Sam Poulten, who is partnering with property
owners Stavros and Teddy Panagiotopoulos, said plans call
for renovating the building that now houses the Athenian
Corner and constructing a four-story building next door.
The restaurant would expand into a new kitchen and seating
space as well as a cocktail lounge across the first floors
of both new buildings, Poulten said.
There will be 18 to 21 new residential units built in the
upper floors; about four of those units will have roof
decks, subject to Historic Board approval.
John Grillakis cooks up a lamb stick at the
Athenian Corner Sunday during the Lowell Folk Festival. The
Market Street restaurant reported that business boomed on Friday and
Saturday before dropping off on Sunday. Just like in prior years, the eatery set up a tent in its
parking lot and sold lamb and chicken kebabs, as well as spinach pie, grape leaves and other Greek
SUN/David H. Browasdas
Lowell Sun, 7/31/2007
Local Greek band impressive in its
Folk Fest audition
By Andrew Ravens
Lowell Sun, 07/27/2007
in a CD and wait to hear back. That's one of many ways a band
can land a coveted gig at the Lowell Folk Festival.
If an act doesn't have a CD, officials at the National Council
for the Traditional Arts in Washington are known to get
creative, especially for local musicians.
Dracut's Costas Maniatakos, of the Greek-inspired band Olympic
Melodies, explained: "Washington called and said they needed a
CD, and we didn't have one. So instead, they sent some people to
listen to us play at the Athenian Corner. They called the next
day and said, 'You guys are hired.'"
So it will be a working weekend Sunday for 85-year-old violinist
Fred Elias, drummer Mike Gregian, 59, guitarist Steve Marks, 60,
and Maniatakos, 67, of Olympic Melodies, which plays Greek,
Armenian, Arabic and Turkish music.
Joshua Kohn, programming manager for the National Council for
the Traditional Arts, booked the quartet.
"We've been hearing about this wonderful band that plays the
Athenian Restaurant, and I got people to check them out,"
he said. "They came back raving about their energy and presence
Olympic Melodies holds a Thursday and Friday night residency at
the Athenian Corner Restaurant on Market Street in Lowell, where
Elias and Gregian have played since 1980. Marks and Maniatakos,
who plays the oud -- a watermelon-shaped cousin to the guitar --
"They really stand out," said Teddy Panagiotopoulos, manager of
the Athenian Corner. "There are a ton of good Greek bands in the
area, but they play pretty much everything. They'll bust out
into some Irish or Italian music -- and their Greek music really
Maniatakos, who drives a big white 1992 Lincoln with
Massachusetts license plates that read "OUD X" ("Someone already
had 'OUD,'" he said), began playing the string instrument in his
"I just picked it up and loved the sound of it," said Maniatakos,
who has relatives who play the instrument. "I never took any
lessons. I tried to gets lessons, but they found excuses not to
teach me. They didn't want any competition."
Soon, Maniatakos mastered the oud and started playing gigs in
his free time. Now that he's retired, Maniatakos has more time
to play around. Olympic Melodies, which formed in the 1970s,
makes regular appearances at clubs across Boston and Cambridge.
"I love it, I love it," Maniatakos said of playing, adding that
he and Gregian "go to Florida twice a year to play for 50 belly
dancers in Orlando."
The spirited band, which last played the Folk Festival two years
ago, will play the Market Street Stage on Sunday at 1:15 p.m.
Later that day, they'll play the Lee Street Stage at 4.
Maniatakos expects both gigs to last about 45 minutes.
"I think they'll be perfect for the festival," said
Panagiotopoulos. "You want someone who can really relate to the