1235 N.C. 16 Business, Denver
DENVER – Westlake feels like home.
The recently remodeled restaurant boasts comfortable booths just right for sliding in, settling down and then tucking in to some major comfort food.
Order breakfast or lunch from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s OK to have a burger and crispy fries at 8 a.m. or eggs and bacon at noon. And now the restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
The reason customers feel so at home at Westlake is that co-owner Gus Beligrinis runs the place like a family. The waitstaff, cooks and managers all pitch in to help out and ensure an excellent experience.
Gus Beligrinis and his father, George Beligrinis, co-own Westlake. They began leasing the restaurant in 2007 with an option to buy after two years. They were having such great success that they bought it in 2009.
It is no fluke that the Beligrinis father-and-son team made the restaurant a success. George Beligrinis has owned restaurants in the Charlotte area since 1974. This is especially amazing as he came over from Greece in 1971 and began as a dishwasher working his way up to cook and then manager. Three years later, he owned his first restaurant. Gus Beligrinis grew up working in his father’s restaurant.
“So I know a few tricks of the trade,” he said, laughing.
The breakfast and lunch menus run together. There are breakfast staples like pancakes, eggs, French toast and omelets. They also offer breakfast burritos, livermush, and shrimp and grits.
“You have to try our grits,” Gus Beligrinis said. “They have a secret ingredient, and we’ve been told numerous times that they are the best.”
Feel free to order any kind of meat with your breakfast: corned beef, pork chop or country fried ham. The lunch menu is full of sandwiches, salads, burgers, quesadillas and gyros with inexpensive prices and large quantities.
The restaurant recently started serving dinner, as well. The menu is similar to the lunch menu but offers more entrée items such as chicken Alfredo and spaghetti and meatballs.
So much at Westlake is made in-house, including coleslaw, potato salad, salad dressings and sauces. George Beligrinis carefully inspects every vegetable, fruit and meat ordered to ensure its quality.
“We have to make sure that everything is wonderful for the customer,” George Beligrinis said.
Customer Mike Honeycutt lives in South Carolina but often works in the Denver area and makes it a point to eat at Westlake.
“It’s all homemade, so it tastes really, really good,” Honeycutt said. “We eat here every time we get an opportunity.”
Many regulars come in every morning, some just for a cup of coffee and chat.
The success behind the restaurant can be attributed to the excellent food, time-earned experience and teamwork.
When interviewing prospective waitstaff, managers or cooks, Gus Beligrinis always makes it clear that if they can’t work well with others, then they won’t last long. So customers will not see a table sit messy for long or a phone call go unanswered or their coffee cup stay empty.