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Bellas, As Usual

Shock! Bellas has been under new ownership for some weeks now, but even the most regular of regulars (the only kind here) may not have noticed any difference. And that's the goal.

 

Billy Michialis knows that any major change at the local institution he bought from longtime owner John Bellas would not go over well. Under his management he will tweak, ever so gently, the formula that obviously works.

Michialis honors the history here – John took over the place from his father, who had it since the early 1980s. So much so that he proudly wears the t-shirt. He also isn't above putting time in on the grill, two to three days a week. He was too busy on grill duty to talk the first two times I tried, as first there was the breakfast rush (gotta get the special!) and then the lunch.

Finally, Michialis, whose last name is Greek if you wondering, was available for a little chat and he answered our Five Quick Questions:

So eat local and say hello to Billy Michialis, New Owner of Bellas...

1. Any changes in the works to the food, the formula?

More salads, more wraps, more sandwiches, healthy options. We want 10 to 15 more salads in there, it's been a good hit so far. We accept credit cards, do delivery [$15 minimum in the villages]. And there's an early bird special [Monday – Friday, except holidays, for dining in only from 3 to 5:30 p.m. $13.95 includes soft drink, coffee or tea; main entree; super salad; dessert.] We'll do catering. The staff is still here. They've been here for many years. They're golden. They are my piece of mind. I'm very lucky.

2. Will there be a change in the look of things?

I'm going to redecorate of course, but still the same set up. I'm buying new tables, new countertops, new cushions. We need new bathrooms. But it's not like I'm breaking up the place and redesigning. You can still have your booth.

3. How has the transition been, taking over a place so beloved? And how did you come to do so? Where's John?

The people have been phenomenal. It was all very very intimidating. I lost a lot of sleep over it. My cousin John owns the flower shop [] next door. He knew John wanted to get out. Time to spend time with his family. He was tired; he was here for so many years.

4. Where do you live; any plans to move?

We live in the Bronx. My wife and I have one child and we're expecting another. Within a year if the business does well, that's the plan to move here. It would be so much easier. Go take a nap during down time for an hour and come back.

5. Your background?

I've been in the business my whole life. Third generation in restaurants. We had restaurants in the Bronx, two in Manhattan, one in Long Island. Two are still open that my grandfather started in the 1960s. Exactly the same kind of businesses, except one in Manhattan that made bagels in the basement.  

Pogue Mahoney May 21, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I'm a regular who was a little worried when I heard that Bellas was about to change hands. I had nothing to worry about. A couple things (like the English muffins) have actually gotten better!
Krista Madsen (Editor) May 21, 2012 at 05:03 PM
And new addition that I just read about in the River Journal: fresh berry/challah bread French Toast, yum.
Pogue Mahoney May 22, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I had the Challah Berry on Sunday morning. Very sweet -- it's nothing I could have once a week -- but de-lish! It's great to see that all the same faces are still there -- Helene, Annie, Marion, etc etc -- and the new owner and his brother are just as nice and eager-to-please.
Krista Madsen (Editor) May 22, 2012 at 07:50 PM
It does sound like dessert
Yianni Souvlaki October 16, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Hard Work, some good luck, and A Killer Breakfast!!! Good Luck with the business... See ya soon!

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