It might come as a surprise to many that Ambrosia Restaurant (corner of Hodge) on Elmwood Avenue has shut its doors. Thankfully, the business is on the move and will be reinventing itself inside of Nektar just a couple doors down. In order to accommodate Ambrosia, the former Nektar building will undergo a few transformations, including a new addition that will make room for an additional 150 seats.
It was owner Stavros Malliaris who made the decision that he could take a tweaked version of the ‘tried and true’ Ambrosia formula, and morph it into another existing business (that he also happens to own). He realized that he could roll two businesses into one, and ditch a building where he was paying high rent. Fortunately he already owned the Nektar building, so the transition was a no brainer.
The first order of business was to figure out how to increase the seating at the new business, which Stavros is considering calling Ambrosia Taverna. An addition on the south side of the building was the solution. Then, the food was next. It was decided that for breakfast and lunch, the new restaurant would serve a scaled down menu featuring Ambrosia’s best sandwiches and a few breakfast items. Like Ambrosia, the menu will be designed to attract families and the atmosphere will be a bit more relaxed to match. “It’s going to be a smaller and better menu,” Stavros told me. “It’s going to be super fresh Mediterranean… more authentic Greek food with virgin olive oils, lemon vinegars, etc. We’re also going to be serving traditional traditional Greek sharing plates, with fresh seasonal items. In Greece, it’s tradition to serve fruit after a meal… we’d like to show our customers how delicious that can be. Or they can go straight for the dessert if they prefer.”
The facade of the building will also be given a warmer and more welcoming makeover, which should bode well for the business. In fact, there are similarities to the former Ambrosia building if you look at the north side with brick and glass.
In the evening and at night, the restaurant will retain much of the Nektar vibe. Once again the food will be served in traditional Greek style, with sharing plates and mix between Greek gourmet and comfort food. After dinner there will be a relaxed club atmosphere, along the lines of what exists currently.
Ambrosia Taverna will meld the best of both worlds, bringing an updated Ambrosia-meets-Nektar formula to the Elmwood Village. It’s good to see Stavros moving forward with this investment on the street. At the same time, the owner/operator has, himself, recently moved back into the city, which shows his dedication to the latest chapter of his life. That’s welcome news, as Stavros has always been a big supporter of the city and its burgeoning restaurant scene.