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New Greek restaurant on Bell a family affair

Queens residents who want to have a real home-cooked Greek meal need not travel to Athens since the delicacies of that land can be tasted right here in Bayside.

The Petridis family has come over from Greece in waves and have found their home on Bell Boulevard.

The clan’s members, who live in Whitestone, opened Maria’s, a Greek-Brazilian fusion restaurant, on the boulevard Jan. 10 with the dream of offering their authentic home cooking to the community.

So far it has been a resounding success as well as a chance for everyone in the family to work together all day, every day. Only two of the shop’s employees are not Petridises.

All the sepia-toned and black and white photographs on the walls are old family pictures. The entire place, which was previously Pelagos Seafood Tavern, was gutted and built by manager Tommy Petridis and his father Kiriakos.

The recipes were handed down from generation to generation. Tommy’s mother, whom the restaurant is named after, is the head chef and Tommy’s uncle, Stelios, who mans the eatery’s grill, used to own a restaurant in Greece.

But the fresh, homemade food is the real draw, Tommy said.

“We make everything from scratch here. Everything literally from the sausages and the dips to the sauces. The french fries are cut here. Nothing is frozen, nothing is canned, everything’s made on premises,” he said. “All our barbecue and everything behind the grill is great, and my mother makes a signature baked apple that comes free at the end of each meal that everyone loves.”

Lunch goes for $8 to $12 and for $10 to $25 dinner customers can order everything from souvlaki to grilled red snapper. The restaurant, at 38-11 Bell Blvd., features a beer and wine bar and free wireless Internet as well.

The familial atmosphere is palpable, as laughter is in the air when the Petridises, all of whom have been in the food service industry their entire lives, are in the kitchen.

“We serve extremely high quality for a very affordable price .... It’s a comfortable, cozy, welcoming type of family environment, good for a date or to bring a family,” Tommy said. “It’s our love of food and our love of Bayside that brought us to Bell Boulevard.”

For more information about Maria’s Restaurant, visit mariasonbell.com or call 718-279-1606. The eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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