NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP, PA — The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors on Wednesday voted to grant conditional use approval for Árdana Food & Drink.
The 6,700 square foot Mediterranean-style restaurant, owned by brothers Mike and Antoni Christou, is scheduled to open sometime this month at the former site of Solstice in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center at Eagle and Durham Roads.
The Newtown location will be the second under the Árdana name for the brothers who also own and operate Árdana’s on Easton Road at the Shops at Valley Square in Warrington. They opened their Warrington location in 2019.
The full service restaurant will provide 159 seats inside with an additional 90 seats at an outdoor patio during the warmer seasons.
“The application tonight is to pick up the ball and run from where Solstice left off from an operational standpoint,” land use attorney Joe Blackburn told the supervisors. “In large respects the operation of Árdana mirrors or is less intense than what existed with respect to Solstice, particularly with respect to seating.”
Dennis Fisher, the chairman of the supervisors, raised the issue of parking with Blackburn asking if the township can get a commitment from the restaurant and from Brixmor encouraging employees not to park in that end of the shopping center.
“Each of the tenant users are responsible for regulating that,” said Blackburn. “It is certainly in the restaurant’s best interest not to have its employees taking up the prime spots. I think it’s fair to say that is something they would self-regulate.”
Supervisor Elen Snyder said with the number of tables being planned, she’s concerned about the impact on parking, especially to that end of the shopping center.
“I know you’re going to be faced with that. It’s a tough situation,” said Snyder. “My suggestion to you is have a plan.”
Owner Michael Christou said that Brixmor will be arranging a valet parking service to ease the parking situation. “That’s going to happen before we open,” he said.
The restaurant is a homecoming for the brothers who were raised in Newtown Township not far from Goodnoe Elementary School and graduated from Council Rock High School North. Their calling to the restaurant industry came early when they began working in their family’s restaurants in New Jersey as young teenagers.
Mike, left, and Antoni Christou, right, with their dad.
Mike fondly remembers growing up in Newtown, enjoying the food and ice cream at the former Goodnoe Dairy Bar and Restaurant, Issac Newton’s (before and after the fire) and the Italian dishes served at La Stalla, Meglio and Vecchia Osteria by Pasquale.
“It feels like a homecoming,” said Mike of their return to Newtown. “Once we put up our sign people started calling and emailing. We have heard from people we haven’t heard from in a while. But we love Newtown and Council Rock. And we’re looking forward to renewing all of our old friendships.”
The restaurant gets its name from Árdana, a small farming village in Cyprus where the owners’ grandmother was raised. Their goal, Mike told Patch, is to transport guests to the Mediterranean while showcasing the beauty of the native style of eating known as “mezze,” where the entirety of the meal is shared amongst family and friends.
The inspiration for Árdana’s cuisine comes from influences from across the region including Italian and Middle Eastern flavors.
“We don’t call it a Cyprus restaurant. We don’t call it a Greek restaurant. We call it Mediterranean because we pull inspiration, dishes, flavors and ideas from that whole region of the world,” said Mike. “You have the fresh, light coastal flavors of Cyprus. You have pastas and pizzas from Italy. And you have the spices and flavors of the Middle East. We cover that whole area of the world.”
Among the restaurant’s most popular offerings are its fresh pastas, its wood-fired pizza and its Mediterranean-style dishes, including whole-char grilled Bronzino and roasted lamb chops. Some of its small plates include whipped ricotta, calamari, Mediterranean olives, spiced lamb and chicken skewers, salted roasted beets and humus.
Other menu items include pan-seared Atlantic salmon, eggplant Milanese, prime grade sirloin, vodka rigatoni, braised pork ragu and mushroom cavatelli.