For many Geneseo students, the Geneseo Family Restaurant doubles as a place to relax and to dine off campus—all while remaining close to school. After its inception in 1995, GFR solidified its standing as one of the most popular restaurants in town and has increasingly built a rapport with the student body as well as the Geneseo community.
Whether they are wooed by the GFR’s Greek salad served with feta cheese and olives or by its signature frittatas, GFR patrons are all grateful for owner Ted Tsoukalos. GFR is well known for its variety of menu choices, something that Tsoukalos is proud of. He added that while he thinks there is definitely a plethora of options, there is always the possibility of expanding it in the future.
Tsoukalos—who was a chef for six years prior to establishing GFR as his own restaurant—emphasized that the restaurant business is one of the hardest professions to get into. For those who may want to join the restaurant business someday, he stressed that the key to success in this highly competitive marketplace is 100 percent dedication to the job.
This dedication is evident in GFR with its upbeat staff members. Waitress Nicole Meisenzahl noted that the positive work environment is one of the main reasons why she enjoys her job. “We don’t hold any secrets,” she said. “Because we are so small-staffed, everyone is like a family.”
This openness is perhaps the reason why there are no little-known facts about the eatery. “Pretty much everyone knows everything about GFR,” Tsoukalos said.
Tsoulakos explained that he loves being able to interact with students, faculty and Geneseo residents, noting that one of the things he loves most about his job is getting meet people from all walks of life with unique personalities. “I have met a lot of people in here,” he said. “Everyone is different and it’s awesome.”
Tsoulakos added that the GFR staff highly value Geneseo students and faculty not only for their patronage of the restaurant, but also for the culture that they bring to the community. “Geneseo gives a big lift to Geneseo itself,” Tsoukalos said. “When the university is closed for the summer, it’s like a ghost town—we miss you guys.”
He stressed that he appreciates the students for more than just their wallets. “The students bring life to the town,” he said.