Owner George Kountourogiannis

George’s Greek Village

By Scott Leslie

The next time you’re driving along Lake Ontario, past the Welland Canal and its many passing steamships, you’ll notice a dazzling new eating destination at 535 Queenston Street in St. Catharines.
Since it first opened last October, George’s has been attracting hundreds of groups and patrons from across Niagara, Western New York and beyond.
One of only a handful of Greek restaurants in Niagara, George’s Greek Village offers an authentic Greek menu with plenty of Greek specialties like tzatziki, mousaka, tiropita, souvlaki and gyros. George’s delicious selection includes everything from soup and salads to more traditional beef and seafood dishes. There are also fine desserts like baklava and galaktobouriko and a variety of beer and wine to choose from.
The storied property was formerly known as Frado’s Italian Restaurant & Dining Lounge, a popular local restaurant that was established back in 1966 by brothers Tullio, Fred and Vito Frado. After close to five decades in business, however, the Frado family decided to retire and Frado’s officially closed its doors in August of 2015.
That’s where “George” enters the picture.
For years, George Kountourogiannis had been a co-owner of Joe Feta’s Greek Village, along with parents Ted and Toula who first purchased Joe Feta’s back in 2003. But the young entrepreneur was looking to expand his horizons.
“My family has been in the business a long time,” George says of his hands-on work ethic. “I was born and raised in the kitchen. But I was looking for another restaurant at the time and this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
The restaurant was already well-known in local circles for its breathtaking location, and George wanted to preserve Frado’s reputation for great food. But when they began renovating their property that September, they realized the enormity of the job ahead. The décor was dark and worn. Structural issues needed to be addressed.
“The original building was in sad shape,” George says. “We had to redo the whole place from top to bottom.”
Thirteen months and several trying times later, they would finally reach fruition – and then some. George has gone out of his way to create a unique dining experience with his new eatery and menu. New light fixtures, Greek furnishings and accents, and wood moldings and hardwood floors all give the place a warm inviting atmosphere. A new open kitchen was also set up in a different location in the restaurant to accommodate the new menu and give customers the opportunity to look in and see everyone cooking.
When it comes to amenities, the new George’s Greek Village speaks for itself. George’s banquet hall has the ability to accommodate over 130 people and can handle any occasion or special event – from wedding receptions and birthday parties to retirements and staff get-togethers. There’s even a private 20-seat meeting room with a 55 inch LCD screen, ideal for business meetings and small family gatherings.
Like Joe Feta’s before it, George is committed to his family’s belief in offering good food, good portions and great service – all at a great price. But he hasn’t been afraid to make a few tweaks to a winning formula.
“We believe in updating our menus to reflect our customers’ tastes,” he explains. “We have new features every weekend. Some of them – like lamb shanks – aren’t on the menu but they’re really popular right now.”
Even though George appreciates the overwhelming support they’ve had from the Niagara Region and the local community over their inaugural year, he’s particularly thankful for the cornerstone of George’s Greek Village.
His professional team of over 30 kitchen, wait and admin staff.
“We’re blessed with good people,” he says. “Our staff is like family. That’s how we’ve become such a success.”