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Three Generations Eat At Ridgewood’s ‘Daily Treat’

The counter at Ridgewood's Daily Treat is always busy and well stocked with diner staples: muffins, marble cake slices, condiments, sugar, the Daily News and conversation.
The counter at Ridgewood's Daily Treat is always busy and well stocked with diner staples: muffins, marble cake slices, condiments, sugar, the Daily News and conversation. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Manuel taking an order.
Manuel taking an order. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Hector making pancakes in the kitchen at the Daily Treat.
Hector making pancakes in the kitchen at the Daily Treat. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Longtime customer Joanne Archer said she's make many wonderful memories at the Daily Treat.
Longtime customer Joanne Archer said she's make many wonderful memories at the Daily Treat. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Daily Treat Owner John Skoutakis answers the ever-ringing phone at the counter.
Daily Treat Owner John Skoutakis answers the ever-ringing phone at the counter. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Scrumptious muffins.
Scrumptious muffins. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
A batch of the Daily Treat's famous chicken soup.
A batch of the Daily Treat's famous chicken soup. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
In the kitchen Ulysses keeps an eye on many a pot.
In the kitchen Ulysses keeps an eye on many a pot. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Manager John Galianos.
Manager John Galianos. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
The Daily Treat on East Ridgewood Avenue.
The Daily Treat on East Ridgewood Avenue. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Giant homemade chocolate chip cookies, individually wrapped - a perennial favorite.
Giant homemade chocolate chip cookies, individually wrapped - a perennial favorite. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — There are so many reasons people have come to the Daily Treat in Ridgewood since 1963: chicken soup, all-day breakfast, great comfort food and lots of familiar faces.

“The customers feel comfortable here. It’s a family environment,” said John Skoutakis of Paramus, who owns the Daily Treat with his sister, Dimi, of Waldwick.

Their cousin opened the diner all those decades ago.

John and Dimi are always around. So is Manager John Galianos of Emerson. (Longtime coowner Gus Lainis retired last year.)

So are the cooks in the back and the waitresses, Skoutakis said. They all tend to stay a long time.

“If the customer wants something, one of us always takes care of it,” he said.

Everybody knows Ulysses, Hector and Alex in the kitchen.

Stalwarts on the wait staff now include Bella, Jojo, Diego and Mario, Skoutakis said.

Joanne Archer of Ridgewood, a customer since the early 1980s, recently had her birthday party at the diner.

“John and Gus were on my birthday video,” Archer said. “Isn’t that neat? It’s a very special place. All of our friends meet here and have incredible memories.”

Her favorite thing to eat at the Daily Treat is the cheeseburger platter though she also calls the chicken soup fabulous and the house dressing on the Greek salad “beyond unbelievable.”

“I’ve been coming here so long, I knew John when he had a Porsche and he wasn’t married,” Archer said, laughing.

“And his daughter just graduated from college!”

Comfort in the environment and in the food are key to the Daily Treat, according to Skoutakis, who came to the U.S. from Greece in 1968.

There isn’t much Greek food on the menu, though – “just one or two things,” he said.

People love the meatloaf, roast chicken, pot roast, brisket, lamb and fish.

Many come in for the homemade soups, including chicken, split pea, lentil and more.

At this point, Skoutakis said, three generations of families eat there.

“And when people who leave town come back to visit, this is their first stop,” he added with a smile. “We like that.”

Behind the cash register at the Daily Treat is proof of its devotion to the Ridgewood community.

The wall is filled with plaques from all the organizations the diner supports: the Kasschau Memorial Shell Committee; American Diabetes Association; Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce; Rotary Club of Ridgewood, Glen Rock and Ho-Ho-Kus; VFW; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Ridgewood and Glen Rock and more.

One of the most memorable times in the history of the diner were the weeks following Hurricane Sandy when people didn’t have power and craved a little comfort.

It was cold outside, Skoutakis vividly remembers, so the customers waited inside, filling the aisles between the booths.

The wait staff moved around them as best they could.

“We went 15 hours a day,” Skoutakis said. “We didn’t get a chance to even have a cup of coffee.”

It was a time the diner family will never forget – a time it was of special service in a long and happy tradition of service every day.

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