Dinner with David and Myra | Christos’ offers Greek comfort food | Entertainment

Dinner with David and Myra |  Christos' offers Greek comfort food |  Entertainment

Sometimes we just need good comfort food. A hugely trusted restaurant that over the years has become an institutional mainstay in Manchester and the surrounding community is Christos’ Pizza & Pasta at 4931 Main St.

Like many of our local dining establishments, Christos has a wonderful history and past. It is a story worth telling. It all started in a bakery in Athens, Greece, where owners Vasilios and Garifalia Alexiou worked tirelessly to perfect their baked goods. While successful in their business, the hardworking couple sought new opportunities and, in 1967, moved to Vermont. A few years later, they opened their restaurant in Manchester. They ended up opening four more restaurants in Vermont and Massachusetts.

In 1983, following in his father’s footsteps, Christos and his charming and gracious wife Athena left Greece for Vermont. In 1986, the couple purchased a then-existing restaurant, completely renovated it, and opened its doors in 1990. To this day, Christos uses the same dough recipe his parents brought to Vermont from Greece. The couple still have family in Greece.

And yes, although they are well known for their authentic and aromatic pizza, the real secret we want to share with you is that Christos’ offers absolutely wonderful Greek cuisine that is hard to find anywhere else. Unfortunately for us, these homemade dishes sell out almost immediately, so you need to place your order in a timely manner.

Some of our favorite soul-satisfying treats include spanakopita, which is a savory Greek spinach pie. Usually containing cheese, usually feta, it also contains eggs, scallions and/or onions, and is wrapped in a flaky phyllo crust. Served with a generous portion of a fresh and savory house salad, it’s a perfect lunch dish.

Other Greek specialties that will lift your spirits while giving you a generous reward include moussaka and giouvetsi. Most of you probably know moussaka as a traditional Greek eggplant casserole made with baked or fried eggplant, potatoes and tomato sauce, ground beef or lamb, topped with a rich and delicious bechamel sauce. But you haven’t had a moussaka until you try the handmade one offered at Christos. For the best moussaka ever, you have to try Athena’s version, made with a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese, lemon potatoes, parsley, breadcrumbs, sautéed onions, egg and nutmeg – in other words, the ultimate comfort food.

For those of you unfamiliar with giouvetsi, as we were, it is a welcoming and traditional Greek dish consisting of tender pieces of chicken, lamb or beef served with small noodles such as orzo, all cooked together in an aromatic tomato sauce flavored with garlic, oregano and other herbs and spices. Add grated pecorino, feta or cheese of your choice and freshly cracked pepper. Think of it as a wonderful Greek stew.

Be sure to finish the meal with one of the best desserts in the world, baklava. This layered pastry made from phyllo dough is filled with chopped nuts (usually walnuts) and sweetened with honey. Admittedly, not for the faint-hearted, but the room offered at Christos is so generous that it can be shared. They also offer Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

In addition to these gourmet delights, Christos’ offers an extensive pizza menu, with thin or regular crust, including their very popular special Greek pie made with eggplant, fresh tomatoes, spinach, black olives, Greek feta and garlic. A treat for the taste buds.

Many pizzas, paninis, calzones and specialty pastas are all satisfying. Over 25 pizza toppings are available.

Other popular dishes include prawns in garlic sauce; the Epiros panini with eggplant, Kalamata olive spread, Greek feta and tomatoes; a crunchy and hearty Greek salad; and a Mediterranean wrap made with hummus, olives, feta, roasted pepper, lettuce, and tomato.

Wine and beer at reasonable prices are available.

Take-out and delivery within a radius of approximately 10 km around the restaurant are available. Outdoor dining will hopefully be available again this summer.

Christos’ is a friendly, family run and operated restaurant. Their proud Greek culture and heritage runs throughout the restaurant and is reflected in both the quality of the food and the accommodating service. Christos and Athena wanted us to know how grateful they are to the community for welcoming them with open arms and giving them the opportunity to contribute and be part of the city. Their two children, raised in Manchester, have had their own success: a daughter now teaches in Manchester, graduating from UVM, and a son with his own business in Cambridge, graduating from Harvard and the Tuck Business School in Dartmouth. The story of Christos and Athena is as heartwarming as their food.

Christos hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sunday 11:30am-10pm. Christos can be reached at 802-362-2408.