Andrea’s Restaurant, which serves Greek cuisine and has been on Thayer Street for 55 years now, was forced to close its doors seven months ago after a sprinkler malfunction caused water damage. It made its long-anticipated return with a soft opening Nov. 9.
Hiring challenges have created obstacles in the restaurant’s reopening process, but staff say they are excited for Andrea’s to reopen officially and to launch new late-night options.
“We’re so glad to be back,” said Philippe Maatouk, who runs Andrea’s, which is located on the corner of Meeting and Thayer streets. “We heard the messages on the phone from people saying how much they missed this place.”
While Maatouk enjoyed a cup of the restaurant’s French onion soup, he described the challenges the restaurant has faced in recent months. “It was hectic. It was crazy, especially hiring,” he said. “We’ve been suffering with this.”
Several restaurants on Thayer have had to reduce hours due to national labor shortages, The Herald previously reported. Maatouk explained that Andreas was facing the same issues and that due to understaffing, they will temporarily be closed on Mondays.
“The world is different than it was years ago when I used to” manage restaurants, said Andrea’s General Manager Sandy Brito. She added that despite difficulties in renovating and repairing the restaurant after the water damage, she was hopeful for the future of Andrea’s. “We have momentum going,” she said. “We took the opportunity to do a little redesign and revamping; we expanded the bar area. The late-night drinking crowd (can) have a place to go after work to relax.”
She added that once the restaurant hires more staff, they plan to remain open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday in order to attract students looking for food late at night. Currently, Andrea’s is open until 10 p.m.
Maatouk said the restaurant will install televisions around the bar for customers to watch sports games, and University students can show their student IDs to receive a 10% discount on their meal.
Andrea’s “will be versatile. You can have a nice lunch, but you can come in later at night and have something to eat, watch a game and listen to some music,” Brito said.
The men’s basketball team often chooses Andrea’s for pre-game meals, Brito added, emphasizing that the staff is excited to see regular customers return. She said she was also looking forward to hosting private events in the back section of the restaurant.
Tamenang Choh ’21 GS ’22 has played for the basketball team since 2017, and said he was looking forward to eating at Andrea’s again.
“I’m very happy they’re reopening. The owner is a really good guy and has always shown us love,” Choh wrote in a message to The Herald. “They’ve always been good to us and had our food ready to go.”
“Not to mention, the food’s really good and gets us ready for our games,” Choh added.
The grand reopening will be Thursday, Nov. 25 on Thanksgiving, according to Maatouk. He said it was wonderful to be back in business and to see long-time customers again. Days after the restaurant’s soft opening, Maatouk found himself chatting with customers once again. Laughs from inside jokes with patrons nearly drowned out bouzouki music playing on the restaurant’s sound system.
This familiarity and community, Brito said, is essential to the Andrea’s experience.
“We’re looking to have fun, a great place for people to get great food and feel at home,” Brito said. “It’s a very homey, cozy establishment.”
Katy Pickens is the managing editor of newsroom and vice president of The Brown Daily Herald's 133rd Editorial Board. She previously served as a Metro section editor covering College Hill, Fox Point and the Jewelry District, housing & campus footprint and activism, all while maintaining a passion for knitting tiny hats.