How to Party at The Colonnade Diner | The plate

STATEN ISLAND, NY — Waitress Lois Donofrio and Chef Emil Habaschi have presented countless meals at The Colonnade Diner in their decades of collective service. In this episode of The Dish, the two loyal employees chose their favorite foods to show off with some of the customer favorites and special Greek foods.

But overall, the best tastes, the chef and Lois say, are the 8-ounce burger with fries and a grilled chicken salad with kalamata olives, creamy feta and vegetables with grilled pita. If a customer wants to get a little stronger, the kitchen features fried whole flounder and meaty lamb chop platters with sides of French fries and broccoli rabe.

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Lois Donofrio has been a waitress at The Colonnade for 34 years. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

The breakfast is tremendous, says Lois. On a weekend, serving hundreds of pancakes, including fruit-filled versions, and omelettes is an understatement.

How does the restaurant handle such volume?

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Grilled flounder with vegetable garnishes. (Staten Island Forward/Pamela Silvestri)

Lois explains the restaurant format where the server is really on the front lines. She recalls her days at Toto’s restaurant, formerly on New Dorp Lane, where the role of a waiter or waitress was to bring only food to guests. At The Colonnade, among other things, a waiter or waitress must ladle the soup, grill the toast, and dish out the pickles with the diner’s famous creamy coleslaw. Yes, it is quite a bit of extra work compared to a traditional restaurant. But Lois would not accept it in any way.

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Complimentary Coleslaw and Pickles (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

Catch this episode of The Dish, a live broadcast from Advance’s Facebook page every Wednesday at 11:30 am Step into The Colonnade’s sparkling kitchen to see where the cooking and assembly action takes place. Compared to other spaces we’ve seen together at The Dish, it’s pretty big back there!

By the way, 24-hour days are over at The Colonnade. Service hours are now 7 am to midnight daily at 2001 Hylan Boulevard.

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The Greek salad to accompany the spanikopita. (Staten Island Forward/Pamela Silvestri)

The restaurant is owned by Marco Platis, established in 1975. It seats around 300 guests and has a private party room as well as an outdoor area called the Santorini Grill. The outdoor section gets its name as a nod to Platis’ hometown in Greece.

The restaurant can be reached at 718-351-2900.

Pamela Silvestri is the editor of Advance Food. You can reach her at [email protected]

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The Colonnade Diner has been a Dongan Hills mainstay since 1975. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

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