By Rod Lee
There were no guarantees when Wayne Nadeau opened Golden Greek Restaurant on Thompson Road at Lake St. in Webster in March of 2003.
But in taking over a building previously occupied by The Big Apple, a produce market, Mr. Nadeau knew he could draw on the many years of experience in the food business he had accumulated from a young age.
“I’ve done everything. Bus boy, waiter, bartender, dishwasher, cook—the whole nine yards,” Mr. Nadeau said on March 29th while discussing his career and the success his restaurant has enjoyed.
Still clad in his white chef’s apron, he had agreed to take a break from both the kitchen and the front counter (where he had just received a large catering order by telephone from a representative of the American Legion in Oxford) during what is typically the restaurant’s “down time” in mid-afternoon. That was not the case, however, on this particular Thursday, just ahead of Good Friday which, he said, is “my busiest day of the year.” The restaurant’s waitresses were still pushing plates out to customers in the two o’clock hour.
Golden Greek Restaurant’s 15th anniversary had been celebrated earlier in the month with 15% off on meals, credit toward the restaurant’s “Belly Rewards” program (based on visits), coffee (buy one, get one free) and a large sheet cake.
In looking back, Mr. Nadeau said he is grateful for the mentorship he received from the founder of the company, the late Nick K. “The Golden Greek” Thanas; and from feedback provided by his customers.
Mr. Nadeau first became aware of Mr. Thanas while working at the Plainfield Dog Track in Connecticut. “He took me on,” he said. Mr. Thanas was opening restaurants that went by the name Golden Greek. “Then he wanted to branch out into Massachusetts,” which is how Mr. Nadeau landed in Webster. Mr. Thanas “passed away within the first year” of Mr. Nadeau’s arrival on Thompson Road. “I paid off the note and bought the property,” he said. “It was his vision and we kept it going and over the years I listened to my customers. People think we have Greek food but we don’t so I had to add a few Greek dishes.
“My customers (including members of a big Polish community) have been awesome,” Mr. Nadeau said. “I learned right away that word of mouth is key in Webster.”
Right now, he said, “broasted chicken” is one of Golden Greek Restaurant’s hottest menu items. It is reasonably priced for four pieces of chicken with a choice of baked potato, French fries, spaghetti or shells. “It’s pan-fried,” he said. “That and our seafood and fish and chips (two pieces of haddock fried “in our specially made batter”) especially during Lent. We’re well-known in town for our broasted chicken. KFC had just opened and they didn’t put a dent in our chicken business.”
Mr. Nadeau has a simple explanation for why Golden Greek Restaurant with its vast selection of fare for lunch and dinner (seven days a week) and brisk takeout business has attracted a loyal following.
“I’m still the one making all the sauces and dough. It’s the consistency thing.
“I started doing kids dinners for $2.99. That helped. So it’s affordable for the family. We have survived a lot of restaurants opening and closing.”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.