CRANBURY: Patrons celebrate Teddy’s 40 years

A widely loved member of the Cranbury community, Theofilos (Teddy) Nikitiades, founder of Teddy’s Restaurant on North Main Street, was once again honored and remembered during Teddy’s 40th anniversary cel

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
CRANBURY — A widely loved member of the Cranbury community, Theofilos (Teddy) Nikitiades, founder of Teddy’s Restaurant on North Main Street, was once again honored and remembered during Teddy’s 40th anniversary celebration on Saturday.
   ”It’s a real tribute to my mother and father’s success and trying to pay tribute to that and give back to the customers,” said George Nikitiades, owner of Teddy’s. “I love hearing the stories about him.”
   The Main Street eatery has been a Cranbury landmark, according to Mr. Nikitiades.
   Teddy’s celebrated its 40th anniversary on Oct. 19 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a day filled with entertainment for the family ranging from face painting, balloon sculpting, and live entertainment.
   ”We wanted to do it on my father’s birthday which is next Saturday but my mom is going to be away,” Mr. Nikitiades said. “That’s why we had to do it this Saturday.”
   It was estimated that several hundred people including family and friends came out to join the celebration of the town iconic restaurant.
   ”I think it over exceeded our expectations with the turnout,” Mr. Nikitiades said.
   Mr. Nikitiades, 77, opened Teddy’s Luncheonette in the end of May of 1973 with just a few stools and tables.
   Since then, the restaurant has been expanded with two additions over the years in addition to upgrades and recent remodeling done in the past few years.
   Mr. Nikitiades’ son, George Nikitiades, inherited the business.
   ”My husband and I had very nice years and now we hope everyone will help George go ahead with this dream for himself,” said Kathy Nikitiades, wife of Teddy.
   According to Ms. Nikitiades, she is “happy” to see her son running the family business.
   ”That is what his father would have wanted him to do,” Ms. Nikitiades said.
   The younger Mr. Nikitiades said he wants his family, consisting of his wife, Wendy, and daughter, Madelyn, 7 months, to be a part of the business the same way he and his sisters were growing up.
   ”It is where I want my family to grow up in the business,” Mr. Nikitiades said.
   According to Ms. Nikitiades, she will never forget the moment her daughter, Aillen Konzelmann, of Moorestown tried to help her parents buy the place.
   ”My daughter was 5 years old when I bought the place,” Ms. Nikitiades said. “When walking through Hightstown, she found a nickel and she came running to me “mommy, mommy I have money for you to buy the restaurant now’.”
   Ms. Nikitiades said she still has the nickel on the wall.
   Cynthia Maglone is her oldest daughter, and helped a lot in the restaurant as a waitress.
   According to Ms. Nikitiades, her customers have been very “faithful.”
   ”It was very hard when we started,” Ms. Nikitiades said. “Like anyone we had a dream and our dream came true with the help of the people from town.”
   According to Ms. Nikitiades, the people are “very warm” and it’s a “nice town.”
   ”To me they are all my family,” Ms. Nikitiades said.
   ”We’re having a great time and eating some yummy food,” said Heather Christopher, of Cranbury who was sitting with family and friends at a table outside Teddy’s enjoying lunch.
   According to son, Nathan, the food is “good” as he ate a kid’s meal of chicken fingers with French fries.
   Cranbury resident Diana Heilbronn was also sitting at a table with her kids and nieces enjoying the food and music.
   ”The music is good,” said Ms. Heilbronn adding that they were having “fun.”
   According to her niece Nora, 5, of East Brunswick her favorite part was the face painting.
   She said she had a butterfly painted face by Clown-A-Round owner Julie Zukowski, of Brown Mills, in Burlington County.
   Mary Rogers, of Plainsboro, said she is a frequent diner at Teddy’s several times a week for both breakfast and lunch.
   ”I love their pancakes, waffles, and omelets,” Ms. Rogers said adding that she comes at least two to three times a week.
   Ms. Rogers said she brings her granddaughter Brooke Kemmer, 3, of Plainsboro for brunch and lunch frequently.
   ”It’s a lot of fun,” Ms. Rogers said.
   Ms. Rogers never met Teddy, but from all the stories she wished she did.
   ”It’s great that they have been here this long,” said Ms. Rogers. “I wish I would’ve met Teddy. It sounds like he would’ve been a very nice person.”
   Mr. Nikitiades said running the restaurant has been a dream come true for him, but he could not do it without his loyal patrons.