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Former Athens, Greece, resident Gigi Palaska appears right at home behind the counter with some of the specialty dishes she makes from scratch. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

Greek restaurateurs return with opening of Gigi's Kouzina

LONDONDERRY - For the Palaskas family, preparing traditional Greek dishes has been a family affair.

Former Athens residents Gigi and Vasilias "Billy" Palaskas owned Brothers Pizza Family Restaurant in downtown Manchester for 30 years. After selling the business, the couple spent an extended period in Greece, where they caught up with relatives and played with their grandchildren.

Upon their return to southern New Hampshire, the couple were again ready to put on their aprons. In late June, their newest restaurant, Gigi's Kouzina, opened at 217 Rockingham Road in Londonderry in a building that once housed a tea room and a children's museum.

With their eldest daughter Tina Palaskas, 35, now home from Greece to assist in business operations, the family held an official grand opening Tuesday morning. Friends, neighbors and town officials, as well as staff from the Londonderry Commerce and Visitors' Center attended the event.

"My mother is the type of cook whose always working to perfect her family's recipes," said Tina, who worked as a business analyst in Greece for the past nine years. "We wanted to start off kind of slow. This is a new community for us, and we wanted to give ourselves time to get to know our neighbors."

"We already have our regulars," Gigi chimed in. "People seem to really like our food."

Billy, a father of three daughters, said he's been in the restaurant business since 1972, first as a prep cook in Winchester, Mass., where he saved money to open his first business.

The menu for Gigi's Kouzina (which means "cuisine" in Greek) ranges from standard pizza and sub-shop fare to seafood, chicken, pasta and less-familiar specialties like pastitsio (a layered pasta and hamburger dish with tomato sauce), dolmathes avgolemono (hamburger-stuffed cabbage with rice and a lemon-egg sauce), spinach bureki pita (philo dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese) and galactobouriko ( a sweet pastry stuffed with custard and drizzled with lemon syrup.)

The restaurant also offers a special Greek dinner for each day of the week, which includes an entre and vegetable.

Gigi's Kouzina is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 8 p.m.

For more information visit www.gigiskouzina.com or call 965-3123.

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April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.


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