BETHPAGE BEST OF THE BORO WINNERS
GIVE BACK TO THE QUEENS COMMUNITY
BY ROBIN KHATSERNOV
During a year that was devastating
to small businesses throughout Queens,
these 2021 Bethpage Best of the Boro
winners rose above their own challenges
to support healthcare workers and others
in need: Kalamaki GR, winner for Best
Greek Restaurant, and Amorelli Realty,
winner for Best Realty.
We spoke to the two business owners
about their charity efforts.
To all Honorees and Award Recipients from one of you who has,
over the years, been so richly IMPACTED by ALL OF YOU!!
I hope in some small way to give back to the community that has given so much to me!
TIMESLEDGER | QNS.COM | FEB. 12-FEB. 18, 2021 21
Individuals and Institutions
for the Communities
that they Touch
With Warmest Regards,
The Honorable Ivan D. Mossop. Jr. MBAtax EA
Founder Action Civic Association for Greater Jamaica
Republican Male District Leader NYS 32nd Assembly District
As of February 5, 2021 Candidate for NYC Council District #28
DON'T MESS UP VOTE MOSSOP!
I am the son of the Caribbean Islands
of Barbados (Callenders of St
Michael's) and Jamaica (Mossops of
McCatty Street, Montego Bay).
By marriage I am the adopted son of
Guyana, SA (Benjamins and Peters).
GO TO BESTOF.QNS.COM
TO SEE IF YOUR FAVORITES WON!
To keep up to date on the contest and see winners follow @bestoftheboro
BESTOF.QNS.COM • WINNERS GUIDE • BETHPAGE BEST OF THE BORO 2021 79
KALAMAKI GR SHARES
A TASTE OF GREECE
Ari Konstantinidis felt the financial impact
of the pandemic on his business right
away. Konstantinidis owns Kalamaki GR, a
Flushing-based Greek restaurant lauded for
its authentic Grecian specialties.
“Our business went down almost 50,
60 percent,” he shared. “I didn’t want to let
anybody go, and I didn’t. Most of my employees
have been with me since day one.’”
Although he came very close to shutting
the restaurant down, he managed to keep it
open thanks to takeout and delivery services.
In March of 2020, right before the
lockdown had begun, Konstantinidis
took to social media to promote a community
service project he had long been
“We did an Instagram post saying,
‘if you’re aware of any family that needs
assistance, we want to feed one family a
day’,” he recalled.
With the help of the pastor and congregants
at St. Demitrious Orthodox
Church in Jamaica, Konstantinidis found
dozens of families in the area that were in
need of freshly cooked meals.
Just as he began delivering the food in
early April, the state imposed pandemic restrictions.
Konstantinidis’ revenue shrunk
significantly and he was barely making
rent. Still, the altruistic restaurateur was determined
to see his vision through.
“For about 40 days, every day, we provided
a full meal for four,” he shared. “We
went to a lot of families. There were a lot
of tears in their eyes. Especially to see the
kids, so excited to have a nice hot meal, it
really steals your heart.”
As the pandemic raged on, the owner
realized there was another group that
needed his support: the first responders
working tirelessly on the frontlines.
He got the inspiration when a group of
visibly drained healthcare workers came
into his restaurant one evening for a bite.
“One doctor and a couple of nurses
who worked at New York Presbyterian
Hospital approached us and said, ‘Listen,
we’d like to buy food from you.’,” Konstantinidis
shared. “And I said, ‘you’re not
buying food from me for first responders
of COVID, I will give you the food.’”
Over the course of three Sundays in
May, Konstantinidis, his wife and his employees
delivered freshly-made gyros to
first responders at New York Presbyterian
Hospital in Flushing, bringing 100 tasty
sandwiches per day. Each time, nurses
greeted them with smiles, relieved to
briefly escape their grueling shifts and excited
to try the most raved-about Greek
fare in town.
“They were extremely thankful,” he
shared. “It was very rewarding and fulfilling.”
The restaurant owner hopes to make
it past tough times so he can continue
sharing his culinary gifts with customers
and those in need. He recognizes that his
charity efforts have been made possible
by his loyal patrons.
“I couldn’t be more thankful to the
community here,” he said. “They have really
supported us big time. They still support
us to this day.”
2906 172nd St, Flushing
Like so many small business owners,
Paul Halvatzis faced unprecedented setbacks
after the pandemic hit last March.
His Astoria-based real estate firm Amorelli
Realty had its doors shuttered indefinitely
due to state lockdown orders. As
restaurants and stores all around closed,
Still, while business was far from
booming, the realtor and his team wanted
to support healthcare workers and
first responders who were facing an even
greater struggle. They looked to local hospital
Mount Sinai Queens, where medical
professionals were dealing with an overwhelming
influx of COVID patients.
“We said, ‘what can we really do?’,” he
recalled. “‘How about just sending over pizza
for everybody?’ We got them $500 worth
of pizza and they had a big pizza party!”
Amorelli Realty finally opened up
again after a long four months. As the
year neared its end and the season of
giving arrived, Halvatzis understood he
could make an even bigger impact by
supporting Queens families who were
struggling more than ever.
Nineteen years ago, he had started an
annual Thanksgiving drive with St. Andrew
Avellino Catholic Academy of Flushing
and local nonprofit organization Quality
Services for the Autism Community
(QSAC), delivering Thanksgiving meals to
underprivileged families across Queens.
Additionally, Halvatzis had begun an offshoot
initiative two years before called
“Hams for the Holidays”, in which he and
his partners at QSAC not only delivered
full meals to families for the December
holidays, but also gifts for their children.
This year, however, COVID restrictions
threatened to thwart both projects.
“In Astoria, the incidence of COVID
was off the charts, the highest in the city,”
he said. “Everyone was trying to avoid
unnecessary contact with each other. So
to distribute food or distributed gifts to
one hundred families, where they would
come pick it up, would expose a lot of
people to contact.”
But after a year that brought hardship
on so many, the benevolent business
owner was determined to spread holiday
“I said to myself, ‘Okay, although we
want to avoid contact with people, I can
probably do this mostly emailing or on
The realty owner was able to raise over
five thousand dollars in donations from
generous friends and business associates.
Observing safety protocols, volunteers
from QSAC individually delivered turkeys
along with stuffing, cranberry sauce,
muffins, yams and gravy to 100 families
Whatever money was not used during
the November effort was put into “Hams
for the Holidays”, during which the team
brought holiday meals to 500 families as
well as new clothing, toys and books for
While Halvatzis organized most of the
drive remotely, he felt the impact of his
charitable actions firsthand when he delivered
dinners to two families in person.
“They were ecstatic on Thanksgiving,”
he shared, “You can imagine how they
were when I brought it for Christmas
too! The families with children who got
Christmas gifts were overwhelmed with
the generosity of my friends.”
Rather than letting the pandemic stop
his charity efforts, Halvatzis brought joy
to those who needed it most during a trying
“It was a tremendous, really exciting
feeling,” he said. “We turned something
that was technically a negative time into
a really positive, happy time.”
36-1 30th Ave, Astoria
Owners Ari and Debbie Konstantinidis and the Kalamaki GR team prepare to deliver
free meals to New York Presbyterian Hospital in Flushing. Photo Credit: Kalamaki GR
Amorelli Realty delivers pizza pies to Mount Sinai Queens.
Photo Credit: Amorelli Realty
Paul Halvatzas and members of QSAC
gather children’s gifts during their holiday
Photo Credit: Amorelli Realty