Greece meets the Chesapeake

Hellas: Traditional seafood favorites and more exotic fare are served in an atmosphere suggestive of the Mediterranean.

August 01, 2004|By Ruth Hakulin | Ruth Hakulin,SUN STAFF

Through the years, many people have come to America for a better chance in life. Among them was the Stavlas family, who migrated from the Isle of Astipalaia, Greece, in 1967. It is because of that Greek background that the family's restaurant, Hellas, on Veteran's Highway in Millersville, has such wonderful food.

Many years ago, Gerasimos N. Stavlas and his brother, Michael Stavlas, decided to open a seafood restaurant in the Baltimore area. The G&M Restaurant & Lounge on Nursery Road in Linthicum Heights was famous for its crab cakes and other seafood. Along with the G&M, the brothers also owned the Timbuktu Restaurant on Dorsey Road in Hanover.

After many years of ownership, the brothers sold both restaurants. Gerasimos Stavlas decided he wanted to continue serving the public in the restaurant business. He looked around for a small place with a good location and the potential to expand.

In 1998, he purchased a bar on Route 3 in Millersville. Stavlas set about remodeling, expanding it into a spacious lounge and separate dining room. The lounge holds four regulation pool tables, a few video game machines, a large oval bar and an enlarged eating area.

To Stavlas, adding the dining room was the most important element of the remodeling. He wanted a place where anyone - singles, couples or families - could come and eat, with a hint of Greece. Keeping with family tradition, two of Stavlas' children also work at Hellas.

When you walk into the dining room, you will appreciate its brightness and spaciousness. As you look up, you will see a ceiling with vines and grapes hanging from the corners. The best part is featured on the outside wall. A mural of the Isle of Astipalaia, where Stavlas and his family were born and raised, covers an area almost 20 feet long and 4 feet high.

The dining room also expands via folding doors to accommodate larger crowds on the weekends or for wedding receptions and banquets.

In the second room are more murals relating to the background of the Stavlas family. All the murals enhance the impression of being in Greece.

But the real reason to go to Hellas is the food. The menu is filled with delicious offerings in all price ranges. There are several Greek dishes, seafood items (including the still-famous crab cakes), poultry, pasta, beef, veal, pork and lamb entrees.

Appetizers start at $4.95 for breaded mushrooms or Buffalo wings. Main entrees are priced from $6.95 for pasta dishes to $30.95 for surf and turf.

My spouse and I shared a creamy crab dip ($6.95) with hot-from-the-oven bread, then had cups of piping hot crab soup ($3.95). We then enjoyed our entrees of chicken lemonato ($10.95) and veal marsala ($13.95).

Finally, we had to have some of the luscious desserts we had walked past on our way to the table. I had Key lime pie ($3.95) and my spouse had double chocolate cream pie ($3.95) with 2-inch high cream topping.

And if you can't stay for dinner, you can always call ahead and get carryout.

Hellas Restaurant & Lounge

Where: 8498 Veterans Highway, Millersville

Telephone: 410-987-0948

Open: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

Credit cards: All major cards accepted

Prices: Appetizers, $4.95 to $8.95; entrees, $8.95 to $30.95.

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