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Gondolier spices up West End

A new flavor of Italian cuisine has come to town.

Gondolier Italian Restaurant and Pizza opened for business this week in the former Greek and Italian Restaurant location at 138 West End Ave. in Farragut.

Dimitri Lolis and his cousin, Christopher Lolis, are co-owners of the Farragut Gondolier. The Lolis family has been in the restaurant business for 40 years. Steve Lolis, Dimitri’s uncle and Christopher’s father, will be the cook at Gondolier.

Steve said the family has had Italian restaurants in and around the Boston area.

“The boys grew up in restaurants so they know the business very well,” he said. “They both went to school and got their degrees and came back to the business very prepared.” Steve added his specialties are spaghetti, pizzas and stromboli, which is similar to a calzone, but he likes to cook all of the dishes.

Dimitri expressed some concern about opening the restaurant, saying, “It may be a little bit of a challenge at first because there have been other restaurants in this location that have not been successful or have left for one reason or another.” He added that once customers experience the “exceptional quality” of Gondolier, they would “come back,” thus ensuring the success of the restaurant.

Dimitri, who is a Farragut resident, also owns the Gondolier in Lenoir City. He said he has been training the recently hired staff of about 20 workers at that location.

The interior of the former Greek and Italian Restaurant has been completely re-modeled. The bar has been removed to provide more seating, the walls are painted a Tuscan gold, new lighting fixtures and furniture have been purchased and several pieces of Italian-style paintings and metal sculptures have been placed throughout.

Customers can request to be seated in the private room, which seats eight to 10 people, or for a large gathering, the banquet room in the back seats approximately 50 people.

Dimitri said customers could dine on the outdoor patio in the front of the restaurant as well.

Gondolier has a lunch menu that is served between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and a dinner menu.

“The two menus have much of the same entrees but the lunch is typically served without a salad, which makes the meal a little less expensive,” Dimitri said.

Adding that good service is an important factor to a successful restaurant, Dimitri said that is one issue he will address.

“I want to also make sure that they also get the service that they deserve,” he said.

The Gondolier franchise originated in Cleveland, Tenn., in 1974 and there are restaurants in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Offering more than 50 items such as salads, hot and cold sub sandwiches, lasagna, manicotti and shrimp in addition to pizza, Gondolier prides itself on having the fresh ingredients and old-world recipes made from scratch. Beer will be served as will soft drinks, milk, hot chocolate and coffee.

The restaurant hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Dine in and take out are available. For more information about Gondolier Italian Restaurant and Pizza, call 865-966-5221.


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