About Tri-Valley Family Restaurant

Serving patrons for over a quarter of a century, Tri-Valley Family Restaurant in Dumont, New Jersey features a rich menu that includes Greek, American, Italian, and other foods as well as a strong breakfast menu and tantalizing desserts. Customers love Tri-Valley for the traditional diner-like atmosphere coupled with the professional and attentive service of its staff. But what they probably love most is the quality of the food and their affordable prices. Many customers find the prices so affordable that they end up coming on a regular basis.

Tri-Valley Family Restaurant was established in 1975 by Peter Panagiotou and his wife Stacy. He sold the business in 1997, after which an Italian restaurant took over. However, due to popular demand, Tri-Valley Family Restaurant came back in 2003 and is now run by Peter's daughter Sandy Panagiotou. Today, the often-busy restaurant is considered a historical landmark in the city of Dumont, New Jersey. Whether you come alone or with your family, you will not be disappointed by the taste, service, and price.



For almost a quarter century, the Tri-Valley Restaurant on Knickerbocker Road has been a Dumont landmark.

First opened in 1975 by Peter Panagiotou and his wife Stacy, the establishment gained its reputation with its Senior Nights and Super Thursdays.

"The key here is the good will that we provide the customers, and today with the economy the way it is, quality, service, and affordability are what count and we provide these all here," Panagiotou said.

"And we have kept these concepts after all of these years," Panagiotou said over lunch recently.

When Panagiotou first purchased the eatery, Cass Luhmann of Bergenfield helped him out by making ice cream on the premises. Previously, before Tri-Valley, The Northern Valley Ice Cream Parlor had operated on the premises. Today the restaurant sells Van Dyke ice cream.

Pete ran the restaurant until 1997, when he sold the business. For a number of years an Italian restaurant operated on the premises; then it went out of business.

Panagiotou's daughter, Sandy, reopened the restaurant in 2003.

"I kept hearing from people that this (the Tri-Valley Restaurant) was a landmark and they wanted it to reopen, they missed it," she said.

"I then renovated the premises into the trendy restaurant that it is now."

What has not changed is the fact that all of the food is home made, according to Sandy.

Today, Pete serves in an advisory position, while his daughter runs the establishment.

"I have been working here since I was a teenager, when I used to wait tables," she said.

A popular menu item is the German Sauerbraten that is offered on a monthly basis. "This is our most requested entree," Sandy said.

Breakfast items such as whole-wheat pancakes, waffles, French toast, and omelets are always available.

Pete said he attributes his daughter's success in running the business to her "being a people person."

"And that means a lot," he said.

Sandy is no stranger to the restaurant business though. Before Tri-Valley, she was a former owner of Delmonico's in Closter and BorderLine Bagels in New Milford.

Matt Santiago of Dumont has been coming to the restaurant for more than 20 years and says that the service and the personnel are among the reasons that he keeps returning.

"The staff are very professional at what they do and make me feel really comfortable ... I feel like I am home," he said.

Santiago said he also brings his family to the restaurant on a regular basis.

The Tri-Valley Restaurant is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. They also offer off premise catering for all occasions and a take-out menu is available.



THE RECORD -- May 11, 2007

Each year, countless restaurants open in North Jersey with the same goal in mind -- offering something new to a competitive dining landscape.

For Sandy Panagiotou and her sister, Kathy Kontopanagiotis, however, their goal was the exact opposite. The owners of the newly opened Tri-Valley Restaurant in Dumont approached their latest venture with the intention of replicating something old.

Prior to becoming Intermezzo in 1996, the restaurant on Knickerbocker Road was the first incarnation of Tri-Valley Restaurant, then owned by the siblings' father, Pete Panagiotou.

"When Tri-Valley closed up, people kept asking us if we were moving. ... They kept telling us that they missed the place," said Sandy. "It was a family business, and we grew up here, so my sister and I decided to open it up again."

Bringing back the ambience of the homey Anytown, USA diner was a task easier said than done. The building had been renovated extensively to suit the more posh Intermezzo.

"It took us four months to turn it around," Kathy said of the building's interior, which is now, once again, lined with spacious booths and bordered on one side by a long serving counter. "We bought [the building] in November and were finally able to open in March."

Besides the decor, the most notable changes the sisters made can be found on the menu. Joining diner traditional favorites such as burgers and salads are updated options, including a variety of panini and wraps. And, while they won't be making ice cream on the premises, the staff of Tri-Valley Restaurant will still dish out scoops of the home-made treat, just as it did when Peter was manning the counter.

"It's great to have this place back in the family," said Peter, who owned it for 25 years. "There's so much history here. ... It's just great to see it back in business."



If the high cost of eating out in a restaurant has kept you slaving over a hot kitchen stove, give yourself a break and try the Tri-Valley Restaurant.

Not only will you be served a delicious, high-quality dinner by a very attentive staff, but the bill will be surprisingly low. A family of four can eat there for less than $--. What's more, that price includes both soup and salad in addition to the entree.

Tri-Valley is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Pete Panagiotou who believe food should be prepared as they would prepare it for themselves. Eight years ago, Pete and his father took over the Northern Valley Ice Cream Parlor and gradually expanded it into a full service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The restaurant specializes in Greek, American, and Italian food, all expertly prepared by Chef Etiene Urbino. The restaurant will soon be offering additional Italian dishes since Etiene will soon be joined by a part-time chef who specializes in Italian dishes.

Pete feels the key to the restaurant's success has been their famous two dinners for $--. That price includes the entree, soup, and salad. The entree is always either fish or meat and the portion is always generous. The restaurant holds 120 people, but very often there is a line which does move quickly. After all, you can hardly eat dinner at home for that amount of money. There are always at least two selections for that price and more often than not, there will be additional entrees to choose from. Some of the more popular two for $-- dinners include roast prime rib of beef and yankee pot roast.

Even if you can't find what you want in the two for $-- selections, the most expensive dish in the restaurant is less than $--.

The salad bar includes cucumber salad, Greek salad, gardeniera, pepperonicini, chick peas, pickled beets, and Greek olives.

If you're still hungry after dinner, try their ice cream. After all, the restaurant was originally an ice cream parlor. The ice cream is freshly made on the premises by Cass Luhmann, who owned an ice cream parlor in Bergenfield for many years.

The restaurant is open seven days a week, so any time that "sick of cooking dinner feeling" comes over you, remember Tri-Valley.