CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Deno Stanley remembers ordering lunch at the McCrory's lunch counter when he was a kid. Now he stands on the other side of a counter in the same building, as the owner of Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille, the restaurant he opened recently at 218 Capitol St.
"It was easy for me to see the vision of what we wanted here," Stanley said.
Stanley developed Adelphia's menu, a fusion of dishes from his Greek heritage and sports bar fare, with the help of an old friend and Culinary Institute of America graduate Douglas Miller.
Miller came up with an unusual menu item Stanley thinks he just might have invented. He dips chunks of feta in a light tempura batter, then fries it to form a crispy exterior. Deep fried feta is served on pita triangles with kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumber and onion drizzled with Yia Yia's dressing, made from his Greek grandmother's recipe.
"I don't even like feta, but this is great," said Stanley. That's right. The grandson of Greek immigrants doesn't like feta.
Gyros are the other signature item on the menu. He wraps the gyro meat in a pita with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and creamy tzatziki sauce, also made from Zoe Stanley's recipe. Other Greek specialties include marinated shrimp, Greek and hummus salads, baked chicken and spanakopita
Standard sports bar fare such as wings, sliders, nachos, burgers, sweet potato and regular fries, onion rings, grilled chicken or deli sandwiches join a variety of salads, soups, turkey burgers, lavash (flatbread) vegetable wraps and deep-fried green beans on the menu. Dinner entrees feature grilled salmon, shrimp, filet mignon and New York strip steak.
Lunch business is brisk. Stanley didn't hang a sign out front for the first four days, but the word spread and the lunch crowd increased steadily every day. Adelphia is open daily, from 11 a.m. through the wee hours of the night. If that sounds vague, it's because Stanley is waiting to see if the crowds will come after the bars close in the evenings.
"The kitchen will open until midnight, and we'll serve a limited menu after that," he said. "I'm following my grandfather's philosophy. He said that if they know we're open, they'll come."
Stanley is the son of Charleston parking lot magnate Spyro Stanley, who has one of his lots across the street from Adelphia. Stanley's grandparents immigrated to the United States from Greece in 1907 and opened a bar and grill on Summers Street and a two-story restaurant on Capitol Street, on the current site of Kinko's. The first floor was a pancake house and the top floor was a Greek restaurant called Athens by Night open for dinner.
"I grew up bussing tables and working the cash register," Stanley said.