When the Moudatsos family bought the legendary Hinsch’s luncheon back in March, they were set on keeping its classic retro feel. Judging by how business is booming, they got it right.
“We had an ice cream parlor, so when we first saw this, it brought back memories,” recalled Lee Moudatsos, who runs Mike’s Hinsch’s with his father who is the namesake. The family used to own Sedutto’s Ice Cream Parlor on Staten Island and currently runs five diners on the island including Mike’s Unicorn Diner.
“People who talk about Hinsch’s said that they didn’t want to see it leave. We kept the name and the retro ‘50s style. There really aren’t any left,” he explained.
Moudatsos did change the signage on the front of the building to update the new ownership and redecorated the inside with bright red and silver vinyl booths over the summer. The smiling wait staff also wears uniforms to match the décor.
“People who aren’t from the neighborhood and the new people who are moving here didn’t know what it [the restaurant] was,” he said. “It’s hard to just survive on candy and ice cream so we tried to focus mainly on food. Make the food good and keep the ice cream. It’s unique to the neighborhood and there is nothing else like it here.”
Mike’s Hinsch’s is now open 24 hours and offers free delivery from Dyker Heights to Shore Road. They also offer daily lunch specials, such as a homemade goulash, pastichio, lamb shanks and veal and peppers or a half sandwich and soup with fries. There are fun brunch specials on weekends, when diners can enjoy stuffed French toast with Nutella and fresh bananas or sweet potato waffles with peach butter.
They also carry gluten free bagels and “stuff that’s not on the menu,” like steak and eggs, fried calamari and coconut shrimp to “mix it up.”
We were happy to taste one of Mike’s Hinsch’s breakfast dishes: a Western Omelette with American cheese ($8.95) served with a choice of home fried potatoes or French fries and toast.
We opted for home fries and whole wheat toast which came with a variety of choices of jelly – red raspberry, blackberry, orange marmalade, strawberry and grape. We opted for the tart and sweet red raspberry.
The heaping portion of fluffy omelette was jam-packed with diced ham, white onion and green pepper. The home fries were tender and sautéed with onion and green pepper.
The Moudatsos’ are known for making their own gyros. “We are really famous for our white sauce in Staten Island. It’s different from everyone else’s,” he said.
Paninis are also popular and come with fries or a salad.
“We try to appeal to younger kids with jalapeno poppers, buffalo wings,” Moudatsos said. “We are thinking about doing after-school specials for high schoolers to bring kids here.”
The tiniest customers will be entertained with character themed placemats, cups and menus.
The Moudatsos’ are hands on with the eatery, at the space all day long helping serve customers. Past owner John Logue still makes the legendary chocolates, which are sold at Mike’s Hinsch’s all year long except during the summer. They can also be found a few blocks up Fifth Avenue at Leske’s Bakery.
“We are looking forward to our first holiday here,” Moudatsos said.
Mike’s Hinsch’s is located at 8518 Fifth Avenue. They can be reached at 1-855-446-7247 or at ILoveHinschs.com.