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Bay Front Restaurant celebrating longevity amid coronavirus

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

The Bay Front Restaurant, 1075 Empire Blvd., Rochester, is a three-generation business started by the Gitsis and Harissis families in 1966.  

Danny Gitsis came to the U.S. at the age of 17 from Drosopigi, a small village in Greece. He started working in the kitchens of other Greek restaurants, where he learned the language and the business. On March 18, 1966, he and his wife, Nitsa, ventured into owning their own establishment with friends Gus and Rikki Harissis. 

The family business on the south end of Irondequoit Bay is carrying on Gitsis’ legacy after his death in 2019 and reports that more than three-quarters of its customers are regulars.

“I have my own booth,” said Randy Henderson, president of Henderson Ford and a customer for over two decades. “Sometimes it is filled when I walk in, so I do have a back-up. By the time I sit down, half of the family members and staff have greeted me, and my tea and favorite meal is on the way.”

The Bay Front Restaurant is open every day except for Christmas. 

“After running a business for 54 years that only closes one day a year, being closed for five months due to COVID-19 may have been a welcome change for many, but it wasn’t for our family,” said Mary DeLella, Gitsis’ daughter and second-generation owner. “Our customers are our extended family and not being able to see so many of them for so long was difficult. We are glad to be reopened, and have been excited to see new and old friends walk back through the doors. It is people like Randy Henderson and his family that keep us eager to come to work every day. They are our family.”

Call 585-482-2247 for information.

The Gitsis and Harissis families opened the Bay Front Restaurant on the south end of Irondequoit Bay in 1966. Pictured, from left, are Nick Delella, Elena Delella, Alexis Delella, Adriana Delella, Nitsa Gitsis, Daniel Gitsis, Mary Delella, Danny Gitsis, Stacey Teague, Phil Gitsis, Justin Gitsis, Erin Cook, David Gitsis and Paul Delella.