Jimmy Kitsios is an embodiment of the American Dream.
Kitsios moved from his native Greece in 1967. In his early years in America he owned a fur business in New York City. He owned it for about 16 years until the fur business was leaving the region for areas with less expensive labor costs, he said.
The Elmsford resident later moved on to his current life’s work – owning diners. He owns five diners in Westchester and Connecticut and his most recently-opened establishment is DD’s Diner is Ossining, which debuted in December.
“This country gives a lot of opportunities,” Kitsios said last week.” If you want to work here, save the money, invest the money, it’s the best country in the world.”
He opened his first diner, the El Dorado, in Elmsford.
Kitsios said there is no particular reason they called the diner DD’s. He said he gets much satisfaction from owning diners. “You have to try very hard to make a living, create jobs for the people,” he said.
The building has hosted several diners since it was built several decades ago and the renovation process took about eight months.
“I like the business a lot,” Kitsios said. “Diners are places to work with the people.”
The new diner is managed by his Kitsios’ son, Bobby, who said he wanted to be part of the family’s work because running a diner “is a very interactive business where you can meet anybody.” One of the customers who came to one of the family’s diners in Connecticut was then-Vice President Al Gore.
“That was amazing,” Bobby Kitsios recalled. “It just goes to show everybody goes out to eat.”
Bobby described Gore as “very nice” and “a very distinguished man.”
Kitsios agreed with his son’s contention that one of the reasons for the popularity of diners is they attract people from all economic groups. “It’s a place for the poor people, medium (income) people and rich people,” he said.
DD’s Diner offers an extensive menu. “We try to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and a variety of each,” Bobby Kitsios said. The all-day breakfast menu includes a variety of pancakes, including sweet potato pancakes, which are very popular, he noted, adding the S’mores pancakes are a favorite with children.
“Breakfast is the kind of food you can eat at night and make it as a treat, especially like pancakes or French toast,” he said.
“The burgers are amazing here,” Bobby Kitsios said. “We grind our own meat here and make them from scratch.”
Macaroni and cheese, which is served in a variety of ways, including with pulled pork, is a popular entrée, Bobby Kitsios said. “We have everything. That’s what appeals to a lot of people,” he said.
The keys to the success of the diner are “good food, good service and a friendly, warm atmosphere,” Bobby Kitsios said.
Kitsios said unlike other restaurants, his customers leave his diners with full stomachs. “If you go to eat at a restaurant you go after to the diner to fill up your stomach,” he quipped.
DD’s Diner is located at 191 N. Highland Ave. in Ossining. For more information, call 914-236-3779.