Presenting: At Nevada’s Ristorante Hospitality is a Family Affair

Dimitra, Chris’ mom, was born in Greece in Kalamata, located on the large Southern Greek peninsula called the Peloponnese. She graduated from high school in 1973 and by that time her older sister and brother had already immigrated to Toronto. Her mother was here too, and in 1974 Dimitra herself came to Canada. From 1976 to 1978 she moved back to Greece, where she worked together with her husband. Since then the couple moved back to Canada, where they now have strong roots. Altogether 16 of Dimitra’s nephews and nieces were born in Canada and all the uncles, aunts and cousins have a tight family relationship and enjoy spending time together.

Gus and Dimitra only live ten minutes away from the restaurant, and Dimitra often comes here to cover the mid-day shift, while Gus or Chris cover the evening shift. Gus also handles the purchasing and buys the fruits and vegetables at the Ontario Food Terminal. Chris added that they have made a commitment to healthy eating, so they now use vegetable oil instead of shortening in the deep fryer. 95% of the sauces are now home-made, and they have minimized the use of preservatives or MSG.

My Potato Leek Soup – a great starter

Chris enjoys making people happy. He said when people come out to a restaurant they want to have a good time. Many of the regulars have become like family to Chris, and they are drawn back time and time again by the cozy atmosphere, the friendly service and the excellent food.

There are also a few new initiatives on the horizon for Nevada’s Ristorante: in the next few weeks the restaurant will be closing down for two to three weeks for some renovations. Chris is planning to relocate the bar to the back of the main dining room, so tables can be set up in the front which will allow for a beautiful view of the action on Queen Street. He has also been thinking about integrating live music and theme nights into his entertainment offering. This could include a Greek night with some belly dancing, or an Italian or Mexican themed night with ethnic music and food.

A tasty appetizer: the Walnut Crusted Brie

Another new initiative will include freshly baked bread that can be purchased on a walk-in basis. This will include olive bread and foccaccia. Cooking classes are another idea that has been floating through Chris’ mind; he is planning to set up the dining room upstairs for free cooking classes which he is planning to hold three to four times a year. Chris is envisioning many things to get the neighbourhood more involved in the hospitality experience.

Creative entrepreneurship also manifests itself in the form of a collaboration with the recently opened Bizzy Bee Playcentre, a safe and fun indoor playground complete with slides and ball pits, pretend play areas, sand table, paints and crafts, construction play, and an infant zone. Along with a number of other local businesses, Nevada’s Ristorante participates in a Shop + Dine program, where patrons receive two hours of free child care at the Bizzy Bee Playcentre if they spend $25 or more per child. A practical idea for a local romantic dinner getaway…

Indochine Spring Rolls

After this detailed explanation and a tour of the facilities, I went upstairs to get ready for my own dinner. My friend Leslie and I sat down at a cozy second floor table overlooking busy Queen Street. We both commented that we really enjoyed the décor, and one table in particular, a small table at the north-west corner with a private window, is ideally made for a romantic tête-à-tête dinner. With Valentine’s Day coming up we figured that this table would have no trouble getting sold out.

The Shrimp – Asparagus Risotto

All this dinner talk had got us nice and ready for our own culinary experience. I started my meal off with a tasty Potato Leek Soup, accompanied by a piece of foccaccia bread with subtle Mediterranean flavours. I am a huge fan of appetizers, and it was hard to choose just one from a wide selection of appealing choices. I did settle on a Walnut Crusted Brie while Leslie had the Indochine Spring Rolls. I then moved on to a Shrimp – Asparagus Risotto while my friend had the Pollo Maximus, consisting of a breast of chicken with wild mushrooms, leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic in a sweet basil chardonnay reduction. After an amazingly filling and scrumptious dinner neither she nor I had any further space in our bellies to try some of the amazing desserts. I would have loved to have a bite of some of Nevada’s sweet treats, but I was not even able to finish my main course and had to bring half my dinner home in a doggie bag.

Pollo Maximus

Chris and his staff came by several times to check up on us and see if we needed anything else. The service was discreet yet attentive. Leslie and I had a wonderful time catching up, two busy women who had not seen each other for quite some time, and our evening at Nevada’s Ristorante was the perfect opportunity to reconnect

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