Petes Pizza is kind of famous, he said with a laugh on a recent spring morning about the business he has co-owned with his cousin and friend, Thomas...
By Kathianne Boniello
It is with a twinkle in his eye and a quick, shy smile that Nick Bakirtsis makes his admission.
Petes Pizza is kind of famous, he said with a laugh on a recent spring morning about the business he has co-owned with his cousin and friend, Thomas Anagnos, since 1982.
Reflecting on the 20 years the pair has spent serving pizza, Greek salads, spinach pies and Italian ices their loyal Bayside customers, Anagnos said were proud of our store.
With a varied menu and uniquely friendly service, Bakirtsis and Anagnos run the store at 39-26 Bell Blvd. as if it were an extension of their homes, treating customers to sociable banter and creating a place where a range of people come for lunch and dinner.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary Bakirtsis and Anagnos are planning a series of special sales to reward their customers.
The fame of Petes Pizza and the pairs dedication to their work shows: the restaurant is packed day after day with customers lined up at the takeout counter and waiting to be served at tables from early afternoon to late evening.
The partners said the secret to their success is simple.
I always enjoyed working in Bayside, said Anagnos, who grew up in Woodside. I feel like I started yesterday.
Bakirtsis, who was raised in Flushing, said to do this you have to love people we love people. If you dont love people, youre going to get tired.
If either Bakirtsis or Anagnos were to lose interest in the business, it would have happened a long time ago. Both grew up watching their fathers, who were friends, run their own restaurants.
My father was in this business for many years, Anagnos said. Since I was 12 years old I was working with my dad.
Anagnos bought his first restaurant when he was 17, just two or three blocks away from where Petes Pizza is now. After a year, he said, he got tired of the work and sold that store.
After five years of working in other communities and restaurants, Anagnos said he was ready to try again and bought Petes Pizza from its namesake and original owner.
Joined by Bakirtsis later on, Anagnos said the two decided to keep the name Pete because of its family significance. Anagnos grandfather and brother as well as Bakirtsis father were named Pete.
We kept the name and we never regretted it, Anagnos said. Referring to his grandfather, Anagnos said: Im proud to have his name here.
A strong sense of family and a love of what they do are not the only things that keep Bakirtsis and Anagnos going.
Bakirtsis said were cousins, but were also friends mostly.
Sometimes you hate your cousin, he said, laughing. You have to be friends.
Interwoven into that friendship is a love affair with Bayside that Anagnos said shows no sign of waning.
Bayside changes, but always Bayside is beautiful, he said. We appreciate the Bayside community were going to try to do the best we can to serve them for many, many years to come.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2001 Community News Group
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