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Newly Opened Mocha House Thrives on Downtown Buzz

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mocha House, downtown’s newest restaurant, was hopping busy when it opened its doors.

The rush wasn’t unexpected. There was pent-up demand for a restaurant on the eastern side of downtown, the Mocha House name is well known and the curious always want to give a new spot a try.

But almost a month after the Jan. 22 opening, the restaurant is still buzzing.

“We hit the ground running, literally,” says manager Kalli Georgalos. “We were hopeful that it would be good at this time, one month in, but it is great. I want to maintain the good vibes – everyone coming in happy and leaving happy.”

It’s not surprising that the 95-seat restaurant at East Boardman and Champion streets, in Eastern Gateway Community College’s Humphries Hall, does a brisk breakfast and lunch business.

But the dinner service, which was the slowest time at first, is also starting to pick up.

“I’ve seen a big difference since Week One,” Georgalos says. “Maybe because we’ve been dropping off menus to businesses.”

The downtown Mocha House is the third restaurant in the local chain, owned by Nick Liakaris and Bill Axiotis of Warren. The main location is on High Street in downtown Warren, and another branch is on Tiffany Boulevard in Boardman.

The menu is largely the same at all three Mocha House restaurants, with appetizers, soups and salads, cold and hot sandwich platters, burgers and dinner entrees.

The restaurants are also known for their pastries, cakes and pies; the downtown location has a wide selection of the sweets in two display cases.

The baked goods are made at the Warren location and delivered to the other sites daily.

The previous two restaurants at the downtown site, Café Cimmento and Los Gallos, were not long-lived but Georgalos says the time is right for Mocha House.

“It’s all about timing,” she says.

Her restaurant has a rapidly growing community college next to it, but it also attracts downtown workers and others who drive in from outside the central business district.

“I see all kinds of groups here,” Georgalos says. “Lots of college students in the morning, business people, residents. No group outweighs the other. I’ve observed a pattern and it’s pretty evenly split.”

The downtown Mocha House has an expansive patio area outside that is tucked beneath the building’s overhang and set back from the sidewalk.

Georgalos says she’ll take advantage of it when warm weather arrives.

“We are planning outdoor seating,” she says. “We have an area with potential to be really nice.”

The downtown Mocha House employs about 30 people and is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Pictured: Kalli Georgalos, manager of the downtown Mocha House, says business has been evenly split between Eastern Gateway students and workers downtown.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.