Congratulations to George and Tatiana Kontoulakos, owners of Royal Rose Diner at 1009 Memorial Parkway N.W. in Huntsville AL, for 2 highly successful years in business. Their menu is one of the most extensive I’ve ever seen, and their hard work and commitment to their customers and employees are exemplary. Imagine running a business that is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. SEVEN DAYS A WEEK!!
Royal Rose Diner is located on the corner of University Drive and the Parkway in the same parking lot as Books-a-Million and very near Costco. I first learned about Royal Rose when I was writing an article for Edible Lower Alabama about breakfast/brunch places in Huntsville. I learned that you can order breakfast any time of the day, yet there’s so much more. Lunch runs the gamut between salads, burgers, paninis, wraps and sandwiches, while dinner options include Greek, Italian, Mexican, seafood and comfort foods. Now, I ask you — when have you ever seen a menu offering pastichio, moussaka and kabobs on one page, nachos and fajitas on another page and chicken pot pie and liver and onions on yet another? And those are just teasers for the 300+ items listed in all.
Steve and I were there for lunch recently. He had salmon patties with potatoes, and I had eggplant parmesan. We both shared a couple of desserts that George had prepared the very same morning. We liked them because they were light and not too sweet. Plus, they were pretty to look at. A display case near the front door has plenty of choices you can enjoy by the slice or purchase a whole cake/pie/pastry to take home.
George oversees the ambitious kitchen, while Tatiana “does everything else” — at least according to the jovial server who answered my many questions. George’s passion is New York style diner cuisine, but he has cooked all over the world and has 50+ years of experience.
As a celebration of their two years in business, George and Tatiana invited some friends in for a tasting of some of their most popular dishes. I was delighted to be in the group. We sampled George’s homemade pita wedges, a cheese/olive dip, meatballs, chicken skewers, fish skewers, veggie lasagna rolls, crab cakes wrapped around a plump scallop, and, of course, some of George’s wonderful and beautiful desserts.
In addition to the great food, I met some wonderful people who are friends and supporters of George and Tatiana’s. Don Howard‘s artwork is on display on all the walls of Royal Rose. He and his wife Dorothy are a delightful couple with heartwarming personalities. Don became a cartoonist for Disney right after college and spent most of his career there. Now, he draws and paints fantastic caricatures of famous musicians, comedians, sports stars, people in history and current heroes and will also take orders for custom works. Naturally, his posters of Alabama and Auburn championships are extremely popular.
I am now the proud owner of this poster commemorating Auburn’s 2010 National Championship. Thank you, Don and Dorothy!!
I also met a very attractive couple who manage a Facebook page called “Rocket City Eats.” They make photos of all kinds of food to keep the rest of us salivating and ready to visit the various eateries.
Another guest was Stephanie Weaver who has a website called www.artfurpaws.com. She paints beautiful oil portraits of pets, in addition to landscapes, still life, and children’s portraits. Check out her website. You can learn about her husband, children and the causes she supports.
At the end of our fun afternoon of great food and conversation, George and Tatiana announced that they will soon be opening another restaurant on the square in downtown Huntsville. They are taking over the location which formerly housed Papou’s Greek Cuisine. The owner recently died, so they have bought that business and are busily revamping the menu. It will be named after their son, Alexander. Be watching for its opening within the next few weeks. With their strong work ethic and ability with food and with people, I predict another successful venture for this lovely couple.