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Diners Say its all About Friends at Angies

Angie's Restaurant in Fairfax might well be better suited as Angie’s, Angie’s and Angie’s, The Three Angies, or Tres Angies. There are three women named Angie involved with the family-style restaurant now.

The original Angie, Angie Skenteris, continues to put in long hours, greeting all the customers with a smile and seeing a lot of familiar faces. Her husband, Arthur, is still a driving force in the kitchen. Although she still works as hostess there, the restaurant was recently purchased by cousins, George and Angie Padriotis.

"Two cousins married two Angies. Maybe we'll find someone named Angie for Peter, too," Arthur Skenteris said, referring to Peter Padriotis, the son of the owners, who takes over as manager in his parents’ absence.

Then there's the chef, Dennis Giannopoulos, who has a wife named Angie.

In addition to the Angies, there are two Peters, two Mikes, two Christines and two Dannys that work there.

Everybody knows everybody over there as well. The kinships date back to 1980, when the restaurant was originally opened.

Carroll Evans sat at a table with several other relatives, enjoying the atmosphere. Four of his seven children work at the restaurant.

“Angie makes it like home. It's like sitting down to dinner with family," he said.

Fran Evans went down the roster.

"I have a son that works in the kitchen, a grandson that washes dishes and a daughter that's a waitress," she said.

The daughter she was talking about is Laurie Harrison who’s been waiting tables there on a part-time basis for 21 years.

"I started working here when I was in high school, and it's hard to leave. This is the only time I see my family, on Friday nights," she said.

<mh>Long-time Customers

<bt>Joan Pastva was in with her husband, Steve, and friends Tom and Alice Harrington. She remembers coming in when the restaurant first opened. They bring visitors when they come to town.

"We came in for lunch [in 1980], and we keep coming back," she said.

Mike Vagianos is a graduate of Lake Braddock Secondary School.

"My parents and I have been coming here since I was 6," he said.

Springfield resident Mike Wilson remembered eating breakfast at another restaurant Padriotis owned in Falls Church years ago. He owned the breakfast place in Falls Church, then went into the heating and air-conditioning business with Wilson, and back into restaurants.

"I was eating eggs your father cooked before you were born," Wilson said to Peter Padriotis.

Padriotis noted the attraction of the atmosphere was catching as well. A friend was in helping to bus tables on a whim.

"He was in eating lunch today, I told him I was short[handed] and asked if he could help me busing tables. He changed his clothes and came back," Padriotis said.

<mh>Fate

<bt>In 1990, the Skenterises almost sold, but fate wouldn't let them. The deal fell through, and now 12 years later, they sold again but are still heavily involved. She feels the attraction to the area.

"There are the nicest people in this area, I have never had trouble in this area. It's [restaurant] like a baby, that's why I refer to it as my baby, it's like my family," she said.

With the new owners, the interior has been remodeled but there is still a no-frills atmosphere. The front room, nonsmoking section, is open, well-lit and flexible. For big groups, they push tables together. The back room is smaller, open to smokers, and provides a place for the staff to sit down, hang out between customers or cater to their families and regulars.

The menu is a combination of Greek and Italian. Some new items were added and a few oldies-but-goodies have returned. Joan Pastva commented to the others at her table.

"The spinach pie is back, we haven't seen that for a while," she said.