The writer was invited to visit the event, and the meal was complimentary.
It was a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the diner and restaurant business when Pan Gregorian Enterprises Inc. held its annual meeting in early December at the Graycliff banquet hall, in Moonachie. Pan Gregorian shareholders and the group’s 12 directors gathered to network, sample food products, hear presentations on legal issues and best practices, and discuss financial issues.
About the Pan Gregorian Cooperative
The Pan Gregorian cooperative, founded 40 years ago, supports the efforts of Greek-American diner and restaurant owners. That support has become more critical in recent years as many companies and family entrepreneurs in the food service sector have struggled in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.
In November, the Pan Gregorian group held a gala event at the Venetian in Garfield to celebrate its charitable donations to various organizations, especially those that serve the needs of children.
Meeting at the Moonachie confab, Nicholas Ladis Kallas, Pan Gregorian chairman of PGEI and the owner/operator of the popular Broad Street Diner in Keyport, along with Andy D. Comodromos, the group’s longtime outside certified public accountant indicated that $490,000 in subsidies were given to shareholders in 2022. In addition, $400,000 in rebates to food service manufacturers and $500,000
in rebates to food and beverage suppliers such as Pepsi Cola, also would be passed along to Pan Gregorian shareholders.
Tracy Armstrong, the co-chair of the employment law team and a member of the management committee at the law firm of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., Woodbridge Township addressed the audience on essential legal best practices for restaurant business owners. As stated on the law firm’s website, Armstrong has over 25 years of experience representing employers across industry sectors in all aspects of
federal and state labor and employment law.
Among her points of advice, Armstrong urged Pan Gregorian members to meet regularly with their lawyers. She advised they review and update documents that involve contracts, insurance, leases, deeds, and the value of the business. She also advised that they create an employee handbook that spells out company policies. Such a handbook would help shield restaurant owners in any litigation involving harassment claims. This would demonstrate that the restaurant has clearly established policies to protect employees in such matters, she explained.
Tasty— and Helpful—Recommendations
As for new food products unveiled at the conference, New Jersey foodies should keep their eyes peeled for the “Bread Kone,” a concept developed in Greece, which will be rolled out in the United States in 2024. The company has established a bakery production facility on Long Island, in Farmingdale, NY.
The “kone” is a soft bread product baked in the shape of a large ice cream cone and decorated with sesame seeds. The kone can be stuffed to deliver a variety of appetizers and salads. This reporter sampled — and thoroughly enjoyed — a kone filled with meat and potatoes.
Other items on display included soft drinks, high-tech dishwashing equipment, soda dispensers, non-toxic cleaners, pies, pancake mixes, and plastic food-storage containers. There was an array of fresh, tasty samples of shrimp cocktail. Options also included a pan of bacon and pork patties, plus mini sausages, hamburgers, fried chicken and chicken quesadillas.
Sponsors and Accolades
Pan Gregorian Enterprises, headquartered in Kenilworth, received letters of congratulations from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey. Both are located in Westfield.
Sponsors attending and supporting the event included Pepsico Inc. (Pepsi Cola), Harrison, NY; Nestle SA, Vevey, Switzerland; Driscoll Foods, Wayne; Stanton Insurance Group, Cherry Hill; Alma Bank, Clifton; certified public accountant Comodromos Associates PA, Paramus; Olympic Payroll, Pine Brook; Aegean Sea
Cruises, Kavala, Greece; Hermes Expo, Old Bridge; Maximum Quality Foods, Linden; Anthony & Sons Bakery, Denville; Team Four Foodservice, Monroe, CT; the law firm of McCarter & English LLP, Newark; McCain Foodservice Solutions, Florenceville, Canada; Ray’s Enterprises Wholesale Meats, Newark; Ecolab USA Inc., St. Paul, MN; Clements Food Group, Hatfield, PA (Hatfield meats); LGI USA Inc., Newark; financial consultant J. Pappas, Little Falls; and Restaurant Graphics, Maplewood.
Andy Comodromos received a plaque to commemorate his four decades of financial services to Pan Gregorian Enterprises. He will be retiring at the end of 2023. Kallas has been the chairman of the organization for five years. His father, John Kallas, and George Manolios, founded the business cooperative in 1983. Their intention was to serve the business needs of independently owned diners and restaurants. Membership includes Greek-owned businesses in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, and North Carolina.