NEW YORK – Less than a year after closing her Upper West Side location, chef Maria Loi has opened a brand new restaurant right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.
As much as Loi is overjoyed about being in such a premier location, “what’s so exciting is the kitchen,” she told The National Herald. “When I first saw it, I fell in love immediately,” she says about the “beautiful European stovetop, unlike anything I’ve seen in the United States.”
“We subscribe to the Greek mentality of fresh and seasonal ingredients,” Loi tells TNH. “Our menu is 100% butter free, using only the highest quality Greek olive oil to make our food, which really makes the difference. We import our mostly all of our fish from Greece, because you can taste the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea when you eat them. We believe in quality over quantity, so if we have a limited number of items because that was the availability of ingredients, then we run with it.”
As for those quick on-the-go, how can she convert the city’s burger and hot dog-eating population to grab a quick, satisfying meal that also happens to be good for them?
“I believe New Yorkers are savvy people,” Loi explains, “who know the value of a good meal, even when they’re in a rush. There are plenty of things that are really good for you that can be ready in minutes – the same amount of time you’d be spending waiting in line at McDonald’s or Chipotle. Greek food isn’t all gyros and souvlaki (and when done right, few things compare!); Greek food is really all about the 12 pillar foods from my book, The Greek Diet, including olive oil, vegetables, beans, yogurt, nuts and seeds, chicken and eggs, whole grains, herbs and spices, and fresh seafood.
“There’s no reason to sacrifice a healthy, flavorful meal in favor of something fatty and fried, especially when our Greek food is slow-cooked the right way just for you, and ready to pick up in mere minutes!”
She told TNH: “I’m really enthusiastic about this space and this team we’ve formed, I think Loi Estiatorio will be the best Greek restaurant, not only in New York, but all over!”