The New Hellas Cafe was my favorite restaurant in Greektown, (which is less and less “Greek” every day, unfortunately). Tassia Russell was kind enough to send me this photo of where it used to be, along with an anecdote and request.
Where The New Hellas Cafe once stood
More importantly, Tassia’s father owned the restaurant. Here’s a story she passes along:
My grandfather, prior to his untimely death at 65 years old, was the butcher in the back of the kitchen. My Aunt Mary, who passed away recently was the ONLY afternoon female server there …EVER! I tried to be a waitress but it only lasted two weeks. I was completely sabotaged by the kitchen and other servers!
Funny story…one day when I ordered a saganaki or “flaming cheese” during the lunch rush-hour, the kitchen thought it funny-as did all the male servers-to fill the shot glass with brandy for the “flame”. Mind you, it was probably my second or third attempt to light a saganaki by myself. Well, I poured and lit it, suddenly the flame engulfed not only me but surrounding patrons. One man laughed and yelled…”LAWSUIT!” (the patrons were mostly attorneys at the time). Suffice to say my eyebrows were singed, my arm hair was completely burned off and I shook uncontrollably for thirty minutes following this “practical”-nearly-an-emergency-room-joke! I never lit a saganaki again. It took me at least a few months to talk with the staff involved or even consume another saganaki!
Tassia’s request, which I hope you can help her fulfill, is this: If you have any memories please pass them along to her via the blog comments here. As she says, if you remember the New Hellas, and write a comment,
“I’d love to share them with Dad as he still mourns the loss of his past and over 40 years of incredible memories.”