As the clock strikes noon on Sunday, waiters at Alexandra’s Bistro gear up for a surge of hungry customers.
Painted Greek gods decorate the walls, watching over as groups of patrons file into booths, waiting to order hot cups of coffee, eggs and plates of pancakes.
Sandra Tsiounis, owner of Alexandra’s Bistro, said the murals were inspired by the restaurant’s connection to Greek culture, as there is a tradition of passing ownership from one Greek owner to another.
Located at 9 E. Fourth St., Alexandra’s is a staple for many community members.
Their relationship is particularly strong with Lehigh students, whom Tsiounis said have made up a significant portion of their customer base for the 34 years she has owned the restaurant.
Tsiounis said after 10 years of her husband working as a welder, the couple decided to buy the restaurant so he wouldn’t have to travel to jobs.
“I came down to my husband when I was pregnant with my third child and said, ‘Okay, this is enough. I don’t see you, we have to do something,’’’ Tsiounis said.
Zara Anwar, ‘25, said she enjoys Alexandra’s because of the menu variety and kind staff, who create a warm, welcoming environment.
Anwar said the restaurant’s proximity to campus and reasonable prices make it a popular destination for students looking for a quick bite or a place to study.
“It’s a perfect place for busy college students because the food comes out fast, and it’s affordable,” Anwar said. “The staff always accommodates me and remembers my order.”
On weekends, Tsiounis said Alexandra’s gets particularly busy with student customers.
Tsiounis said the diner used to remain open until 7 p.m., but they decided to cut back operating hours to 3 p.m. since they weren’t getting many customers after that time.
“The funny thing is we make more money now than we did when we were closing at 7 p.m.,” Tsiounis said. “Everybody just wants to get their meals in.”
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tsiounis said business was slow and Alexandra’s had to shift to curbside pickup for their regular customers.
Now, she said older people are starting to be comfortable dining in the restaurant again.
“The elderly people that used to come all the time are starting to come out and say, ‘Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in forever,’’’ Tsiounis said.
Tsiounis said the most popular items on the menu are the eggs benedict, omelets and Greek gyros.
Paola Magana, ‘25, a frequent customer at Alexandra’s, said her favorite meal at the restaurant is the omelet.
“I love adding anything to my omelet, and they are always so accommodating and remember how I asked for it,” Magana said.
Magana said she would not trade the experience at Alexandra’s for a meal at any other restaurant because it is a great environment to experience with a group of friends to enjoy each other’s company.
She said the restaurant’s atmosphere and the staff’s friendliness have left an impression on her.
“One of the waitresses is so awesome,” Magana said. “She will always ask you about your day and how you’re doing. She always has the best smile on her face.”
Tsiounis said throughout her 34 years of owning Alexandra’s, her interactions with Lehigh students have consistently been positive.
Anwar said when her dad visited for Parents Weekend, she took him to Alexandra’s because she wanted him to experience one of her favorite spots.
“He told me I should go there more often because it reminded him of a diner in their hometown,” Anwar said. “He was happy that I had a place like that near me.”
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