At Seamless, we’re pretty obsessed with knowing everything about popular NYC restaurants—including the people who run them. With our Couch Convo series, we sit down with the owners of the most delicious local spots and talk about the important stuff, like their top food secrets and the dishes your belly will crave non-stop. Next up: Stathis, owner of Carnegie Diner & Cafe—located across from Carnegie Hall.
Seamless: Stathis! You’ve been in the hospitality industry since you were 18. How’d you get into the business?
Stathis: My family owned a small hotel and restaurant back home in Greece, and it was normal to work in the family business during my summer vacations. I fell in love with the hospitality industry from day one.
SL: We love that. Your passion really shines through. Let’s talk about your newest project, Carnegie Diner & Cafe.
S: Carnegie Diner & Café is our baby and has our full attention. It’s our first diner. Although we have been in the fine dining business and quick-service restaurants, Carnegie is somewhere in between and we LOVE it.
SL: We’re curious, who’s “our”?
S: “Our” means my team. In general, I prefer to use “our” instead of “I.” It’s a mentality that’s very important to us. I treat all my employees as my partners.
SL: You’re from one of the most beautiful countries—Greece. What’s your favorite part about it?
S: I love Greece. The sun, the sea and the food are simply extraordinary. The quality of life that people have in Greece is a mentality that friendship, wine and good food have priority over work and money. That mentality is my favorite part of my native country.
SL: Sounds lovely. We’re booking a trip there ASAP. But first, let’s talk more about Carnegie Diner & Cafe. The name was inspired by Carnegie Hall, right? Tell us more about that.
S: We are exactly diagonal across the street from Carnegie Hall. It’s an institution of music and the epitome of success for any musician. We pay our respect to that institution by featuring a lot of the performers on our walls, from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan.
Andrew Carnegie has an amazing story himself, so the decision to be named after Carnegie Hall was an easy one. It’s true to our neighborhood and gives a tribute to music.
SL: Who are your favorite musicians that have played at Carnegie Hall?
S: As a Greek, I have to say Maria Callas, who performed three times at Carnegie. She was amazing. I have seen her tapes and was mesmerized. I’m sad I never had the chance to see her alive.
SL: Let’s pretend it’s our first time ordering, what should we get?
S: If you are coming for breakfast, you have to try our pancakes—fluffy and flavorful. If you are coming for lunch, our organic burgers, like the Corner Burger, are a must-try. If you join us for dinner, try our signature half slab of ribs.
SL: All of those sounds sooooo good. We also heard your personal fave is the lobster mac and cheese. What do you love about it?
S: I mean lobster AND mac and cheese!!! It’s made with our white cheddar cheese along with our bechamel sauce. It’s absolutely amazing to any palate.
SL: When’s a good time to get Carnegie Diner & Cafe delivered?
S: Anytime you are hungry, it’s good for delivery. We have people asking for pancakes at 10:30 at night! Breakfast for dinner is a thing. Ordering for date night is also a great way to get out of cleaning, so you can simply enjoy the coziness of your home.
SL: If we’re having breakfast in bed, would salted caramel waffles or apple pie pancakes be the best cuddle buddy?
S: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I will say apple pie pancakes. Caramel waffle is great as well but will be sticky in bed.
SL: Three words that describe Carnegie Diner & Cafe. Go!
S: Fresh, exceptional and flavorful.
SL: Anything else you’d like to share?
S: We only use local eggs for all of our menu items. We also only use organic burgers from Vermont Country Farms. We love to serve, what we love to eat. Join us and be part of our family and friends.
Craving Carnegie Diner & Cafe? Yeah, us too.