Story and photo by Becky Billingsley
Tony Papadopoulos was 13 years old when he moved to Worcestershire, Mass., from Greece. The young man was only 21 when he decided to travel and find a place where he could open a restaurant.
"For about a month I went through every city in North and South Carolina," he said on Sept. 2 at his Georgetown location. "I made a decision for this area, Georgetown. I like the coast and I like the friendly people."
Business was slow at first when Papadopoulos opened in 1979, but as word spread that the food was tasty and comfortably priced, he gained more repeat business.
"Business has been up every year since then," he said. "This year has been our best so far."
In 1995 he opened a second location in Andrews.
The Georgetown restaurant is a big square with booths along three sides. Tables are in the middle, and a big brick-faced counter where carry-out orders are picked up juts out like a V into the dining room.
Tables are no-nonsense and easy to clean laminated oak, and there are roomy eight-tops perfect for celebrating or commiserating sports teams. Chairs are utilitarian metal framed with padded vinyl seats and backs. The floor is a brown and beige and has a broken tile mosaic effect, and lights and ceiling fans have a brassy early 1980s look.
Most of the interior decor accents are plants hanging in the windows (I didn't look close enough to see if they are fake or real, but they are attractive). Outside there are handsome and huge planters filled with well-tended and flourishing begonias and hibiscus.
Expect Tony's to be busy just about any time of day. When I visited at 3 p.m. there were delivery drivers, singles and retirees enjoying their big meals of the day and high schoolers hungry for early suppers.
What's to eat
Pizza is the specialty of the house, and the crust is quite awesome. You couldn't say it is either thick or thin - it's medium-thick - but ever since I tried the Greek Pizza I've been raving about the delectable crispiness of the crust's edges.
Toppings piled on the pizza and on my side salad were exceedingly fresh and flavorful, and Papadopoulos said he uses only fresh ingredients in every dish they make. Their specialty pizzas include Bacon/Cheddar/Ranch, Hawaiian, Vegetable, Greek, Meat Lovers, and the House Special with salami, ham, sausage, pepperoni, hamburger, onions, bell pepper and mushrooms.
All subs are topped with Tony's Italian Dressing, which is creamy and tangy. A few of the 25 sub choices include Bologna, Chicken Salad, Veal Parmesan, Genoa Salami, Smoked Turkey Chipotle, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Pepper Steak, Cheese Steak and Hot Pastrami.
Spaghetti dinners are made with angel hair pasta, and can be topped with plain house-made marinara, meatballs, mushrooms, Chicken Parmesan or sausage. Fettuccine Alfredo can be topped with shrimp or chicken, and there are also Cheese or Beef Ravioli, Cheese Manicotti, and house-made Lasagna that will be a delightful experience for those who like more mozzarella than pasta in their lasagna.
Cheese Bread is a popular item here, and it can come with marinara sauce, and/or be topped with pepperoni or bacon. Green salads include Chef, Greek and Grilled Chicken, while the Tuna Salad and Chicken Salad are topped with mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses. Chicken and Tuna salads are also available by the scoop or by the pound for carry-out.
Children have a couple of special sub and spaghetti choices for less than $5, and if adults dine in-house, children ages 5 and younger may have free spaghetti and meat sauce and a drink.
For dessert there is a chocolate treat called Nuts About Fudge, Cheesecake and the wonderful honey-infused Greek pastry called Baklava.
Tony's Famous Pizza
Where: 415 N. Fraser St., Georgetown; and 506 N. Morgan Ave., Andrews
Phone: 546-1612 in Georgetown; 264-8149 in Andrews
Noise Level: There's just the sound of contented people dining and conversing with occasional spates of relaxed laughter.
Vegetarian Options: Veggie pizzas, veggie subs, spaghetti with marinara, salads including Greek salad, cheese bread, Fettuccine Alfredo, Cheese Manicotti, Cheese Ravioli, Baklava and cheesecake.
Smoking: Not allowed in the Georgetown location; smoking is allowed in the Andrews restaurant.
Hours: Open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays starting at 11 a.m.
Prices: 10-inch pizzas start at $6.75 and range up to a 15-inch house special for $19; Subs are $5-$7; Pasta is $6.75-$8.45.
Check for Two: One 10-inch Greek Pizza, two small tossed house salads and a half-pitcher of draft beer would be about $18; with a decent tip you'll still get out for less than $25.
Jamaican cuisine coming to Pawleys
Steve and Marrue Bleau (rhymes with bow) are readying the former thrift shop at 9737 Ocean Highway in Pawleys Island (across from Indo Thai) to open in a couple of weeks as Mama Rue's Blues Garden Restaurant & Lounge.
They'll serve American and Jamaican cuisine, and Jamaica native Eric Sutherland is the chef.
The property has live oaks, and they'll have a 45-seat dining room inside, a separate small bar in the rear of the restaurant, al fresco tables under the trees and, eventually, a "Man Cave" in the warehouse out back where sports fans will be comfortable watching NASCAR and football. When it opens Mama Rue's will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. The number is 235-3853.
Upper Crust becomes delectable
Tracy Littlejohn, owner of The Upper Crust at 816 Front St. in Georgetown, has closed the bakery/lunch spot she opened in February 2009. Her pastries, cakes and other desserts will still be available through catering from Delectable Occasions when Littlejohn "partners up" with Sandra Mazingo. http://delectableoccasions.com/
Bucksport Marina, which is just over the Horry County line on S.C. 701, is being restored to its former glory. Project managers Duane Oliver and Gary Goss are overseeing the rebuilding of the campground and refurbishing of the restaurant, bathhouse and laundry facilities. The men intend for the property to be open in the spring of 2011 as a family-friendly site for fishing tournaments, boat races and live entertainment.
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