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Monday, May 27, 2024

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The Grande Café Brings Culinary Brunch at An Affordable Price to Rio Grande

George Mallous
Collin Hall

George Mallous, second from right, is joined by Middle Township officials, including Mayor Tim Donohue, second from front left, for the grand opening of the Grande Cafe in Rio Grande.

By Herald Staff

RIO GRANDE – The Mallous family – responsible for culinary hot spots like Olive Branch in Villas, Mythos, Egg and Dart, and the Pier House, all in Cape May – are shaking up the breakfast scene in Rio Grande with “The Grande Café,” a new brunch spot with a unique menu and great atmosphere.
George and Argerios Mallous bring a Greek twist to the sandwiches, pastries, and entrees served at The Grande Café. They made a name for themselves by opening detail-oriented restaurants across the peninsula alongside their children. “The only common denominator is the Greek influence in all of our restaurants,” George said. “We don’t serve the same things you can find anywhere else.”
Even staples – like a cheesesteak sandwich – have been heavily modified with the expertise that comes from 20 years in the business. “We don’t do a cheesesteak per se, we do a filet steak sandwich with fresh provolone and fried onions on a telera bun sourced from a local baker,” George said.
They also serve a “Nick & Niko,” their spin on a Pork Roll sandwich. George and Argerios’ father Nicholas ate the “Nick & Niko” every morning. Nicholas was an extremely talented self-taught chef who operated The Lamp Post Diner in North Wildwood for 25 years – he taught his sons everything he knew, and his spirit lives on through “The Grande Café.”
George also highlighted their Pork Belly Hash, a special that Argerios perfected. The dish is a fresh pork belly that is cooked, seasoned, and marinated at the café. The pork is then mixed with homemade hash potatoes, seasoned with their proprietary steak seasoning, topped with arugula, pepperoncini, and kasseri cheeses, and garnished with scallions and house-made lemon oregano glaze.
Argerios said that the Grande Café is “for leisurely locals and caffeine seekers, breakfast & lunch ‘on-the-run‘goers, or friends headed ‘to and from the shore alike.”
George stressed that he and Argerios have worked together for over two decades to hone their restaurateur skills. “Our father had a diner for 25 years,” he said. “We grew up in the industry from the time we were young. We have the same story as everyone who grew up in that world – we were dishwashers, bus boys, line cooks – and we went on to attend culinary school,” he said in a late afternoon interview with the Herald.
Despite his impressive tenure, George currently works part-time as a line cook at The Grande Cafe. He wants to make sure everything is perfect and doesn’t mind getting dirty to do so.
“We put a part of ourselves into everything we do,” George said. “Consistency builds credibility, and we have been serving consistently good dishes in the county to show that we are a name you can trust.”
Despite the fresh-sourced ingredients and high-effort recipes, prices at Grande Café aren’t much different than you might find at other brunch spots.
The Grande Café’s atmosphere stands out in the same way their dishes do. Everything is spotlessly clean and decorated with wood and green accents. The outside patio has plenty of seating for days with good weather. It’s a great place to hang out with coffee and a bagel sandwich.
They also serve a variety of fresh-brewed Gramercy Park coffee, including a Greek frappe that “you won’t find in too many places,” George said. The café also has cold brew lattes and a fresh smoothie menu.
“It took us a long time to open this place – we redid the whole thing top-top-bottom. Between my brother’s vision, my vision, and my children’s vision, we put the work in to make this place great,” George said, proud of the Mallous family’s newest venture.
The Grande Café celebrated its grand opening on May 17, 2023.
The Grande Café
3167 Rt. 9 S, Rio Grande
Open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
www.grandecafenj.com

Content Marketing Coordinator / Reporter

Collin Hall grew up in Cape May County and works as a content manager for Do The Shore, as well as a reporter. He currently lives in Villas.

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