Constantine Kalandranis should have been excited to finally close on the sale of his new building. Instead, he and his two partners were concerned about their first restaurant.
“It was the day before Sandy when we first had the building. We were so nervous,” said Kalandranis. Because of Sandy, his business, 8 North Broadway in Nyack, had a couple of unique first days. Located right across from Nyack Village Hall, he said that they must have “had a guardian angel.”
“This whole block on our side of the street, we got power back in two days. We opened our doors for people for heat and power and coffee. Residents came in to recharge their phones. That was our first introduction into the neighborhood.”
He added that because of the restored power, they were able to move forward with preparing the space for its grand opening.
They opened at the beginning of December. “We had a party for old school restaurateurs from the Bronx that first week of December.”
Location, Location, Location
Nyack was not Kalandranis’ first pick. This Queens native was looking to open a restaurant and was “looking at all the hot spots, like Manhattan.”
“We wanted to look for a location with true value and we went for the larger enterprise. The cost of this (Nyack) building was about the same as renting in Manhattan and we saw the security in investing in a property instead of just getting a 10-year lease.”
Since then, Nyack has grown on him.
“I like the liveliness and energy of the people and the mix of the cultural diversity,” said Kalandranis. “The people here are into being fit and truly know how to dine in Nyack. The clientele that comes in, the sophistication level of eating across the board is high. We can speak the same language through our food and hospitality. Nyack and surrounding communities truly has the sophistication to understand it.”
Its current location replaces Madison's and before that was the long-running Lushane's.
“This is our first restaurant and I wanted to do something with my sister. I’m the main owner. My sister, Janet, is behind me in marketing and my cousin, Eleni, is behind the scenes,” he said.
Richard Mitchell is the general manager and Chef Hichem Habbas works alongside Kalandranis in the kitchen.
“(Habbas and I) We’ve been working together for a long time. We met when I was the executive chef at Anthos in NYC,” he said. Kalandranis also was the executive chef for about two years for a Greek Mediterranean bistro in Queens.
“I mostly worked in the city for 5-6 years alongside renown chefs,” he said.
8 North Broadway focuses on Mediterranean cuisine with Hudson valley ingredients.
“We want to be as close to the farmers, butchers, fishermen and artists as much as possible so that this restaurant can change and evolve on a seasonal basis. The menu changes every day, such as the homemade pasta, soup and flatbread,” which they make themselves.
“We came to a North African style of making flatbread. We do it on a grill. It’s soft and it goes great with the dips that change daily. The flatbread is a very earthy and charred piece of bread that can influence any flavor without taking over.”
Some items on their menu is based off of that day’s catch and based off of which market produce is freshest.
“We’re trying to go back to those times when restaurants first started and got great available food on the table. I’m proud of our oysters. They’re known for their freshness. We change the fresh garnish every day so that that oyster pops and has a seasonal flavor. A dish we stand behind 100 percent is the octopus. We get the best octopus possible.”
They’re currently not open for lunch “because we want to perfect our dinner service. Soon we will open all day with two different menus. It’s the kind of neighborhood where I think they appreciate brunch.”
On Sunday from 11 – 4, they do open offering a unique antipasta style. The whole menu is $9 and all the portions are scaled down.
“You can come in and eat as much as you want. It’s our way to say thanks to the neighborhood and to keep the food lively.”
“The most important part of the whole project is that we’re trying to take every single daily event and improve from the day before, make sure we take the Mediterranean way of cooking and serving as an art and make it a lifestyle. It’s a way of selecting ingredients and enjoying your food with great hospitality and local art. It’s a true lifestyle change that will never go out of fashion.”
Currently, 8 North Broadway serves only wine and beer. Their liquor license is in the process and Kalandranis said they should have it in the next month or two.
“I’m glad we only started with only wines. We’ve been able to develop the wines to cater to the clientele. We also have local wine on tap. Spanish wines are doing well right now, but we also have some esoteric wines.”
“We’re trying to make this our first restaurant of many, each with different concepts. This would be the Mediterranean one. I’d like to open up a butcher shop and gelato shop,” he said, adding that he’s also very interested in opening a high-end 10-12 seat theater, in which the chef would prepare and serve meals that would compliment the movie.
“It becomes a real emotional way of dining," he said about the theater dining. "We would take all of the founders of the company and reinvest in our ideas instead of looking for outside funding. We want to put our own money into our people. We’re not looking to grow too large, but just big enough to self sustain the company,” he said.