WHAT’S IN THE FISH
that makes it so good ?
The Chagouris Family’s Immigrant Song
In the late 1800s there lived a homeless orphan boy on the hillside of a small village a few miles from Sparta, in Greece. He was a proud Spartiati – a Spartan. He saved coins that he likely buried to keep them safe from the hands of the drunken shepherds for whom he worked. He told stories of how they often beat him with their staffs. By his early twenties he had saved enough drachmas to buy a ticket and board a Steamer that crossed the Atlantic Ocean, more than half-way across the world to reach the shores of The United States of America where anything was possible.
Our Grandfather brought with him a small bag and a huge work-ethic, along with his Spartan pride.
He spoke no English but he quickly learned how to say “Fresh Fish”, “Please”, and “Thank You”, and the names of the fish he bought and sold. And of course he knew how to count. He sold fish from a push cart on the same city streets that Edgar Allen Poe walked (or staggered) only a few years earlier. Indeed, Poe’s grave is only three blocks from our grandparents’ first home on Green Street across from the Lexington Market in Baltimore, Maryland where he aspired to one day have his very own Fish Stand – because as everyone knows, a Stand is much better than a Push Cart.
Our Papou (grandfather) became known as “Louie Chicago” (Chagouris), as the merchants of the Wholesale Fish Market on the docks of the Baltimore harbor called him. He was a daily and welcomed part of their lives. Buying ice, fish, and loading it onto his cart every morning at 4 AM, he was doing all he knew how to do – which was to work hard every day, count, and then hide his money.
He was “matched” with my grandmother, Stella Mathias (Matthews). Together the couple learned to read and write English. They studied together and soon became very proud, Naturalized American Citizens.
Open Table Dinners
People love us on Yelp
Coming to us for a lunch or a dinner should feel just as comfortable, as having one at home. The simplicity, freshness and reasonable pricing for our dishes just underlines how home-like our Restaurant is..
Meet our team
Bettaso is a family owned Restaurant, which treasures the atmosphere just as much as the dining menu. We assembled a strong team of professionals, all of whom aspire to constantly excel and step it up!
Mary Neffedy, Thomas Palmer and Simon Wicked are at the heart of everything we do here, at the Bettaso contemporary Restaurant.
This team has been assembled coming from absolutely different backgrounds. It’s most noticeable when we compare Mary and her two sous chefs. Mary’ been studying and working the art of cooking in Paris while Thomas and Simon had a more local experience in the US Restaurants.
Both Simon and Thomas came from a more local experience of contemporary, mixed American cuisine.
These differences help them to work incredibly efficiently as one team.
They compliment each other’s experiences and skills! Together in this cooking collaboration, they created our unique, diverse menu as it is.
We’re really proud to recognize that this menu is a truly modern take on food. A menu, where there are national dishes from different countries, mixed up and adapted to an American contemporary setting.
Even more importantly, each of our culinary talents focuses within their own specific kitchen department…
Like Thomas Palmer does, giving Mary and Simon a hand when it comes to desserts. And no one cooks those mouth-watering, delightful desserts better than him!
All in all, we very much owe to Bettaso’s team diversity and the teamwork we have here. These ingredients make us the best
Being 5 years younger, than our Chef Mary, Simon is already skilled enough. Being a cook for more than 10 years in multiple Restaurants of Virginia, he’s now a part of our Restaurant’s team. His duty is a full control over the kitchen and the staff, as well as responsibility for food’s quality.
Mary is the most experienced chef in our culinary team. She graduated from Parisian Culinary school 15 years ago and since then only excelled her skills. Now she has 2 sous-chefs to assist her. They help her cook our dishes as good as only possible
Desserts sous chef
Thomas began his cooking career in his native Poland 10 years ago. For the last 5 years he works at our place, delivering amazing meat and fish dishes to our guests. There were many instances people called him up to say “thank you” personally!
An American Dream
Papou and his brother-in-law, Uncle Chris Matthews, opened the Chagouris & Matthews Seafood Company in the World Famous, Lexington Street Market on Lexington and Eutaw Streets just a few blocks north of Camden Yards at the Historical Camden Station. He and our uncle sold, cleaned, and sacked fresh fish six days a week under tents and in sheds – no heat, no fans, no restrooms , but a city run Public “Comfort Station”. This was the Agora, an open-air Farmers Market in the middle of the city at the turn of the 19th Century. But for a once homeless, orphaned, shepherd boy from Sparta it was like Heaven, itself. He had arrived, and he was his own man.
Wartime – The Next Generation
Our dad, Nick Chagouris, was the eldest of our grandparents’ four children. My dad and his baby brother, Pete, returned from the war in Europe. The 2nd son, George, didn’t. George Chagouris, age 21, was killed on Purple Heart Hill – no remains were found. Our father returned home to his loving mother, now widowed. Papou had passed away while his sons fought WWII and won, defeating Hitler’s Army. The torturous worry of his three sons fighting a war on the European continent from where he fled years before doubtlessly hastened his death. Louie Chicago was now a memory to be passed on to other generations. Our dad took over Chagouris & Matthews with his mom, our Yia Yia (grandmother), as Uncle Chris had also passed on.
The business was still alive, but barely. Times had changed. Uncle Chris Matthews was gone now, too. My grandmother was working every day to keep up the bills and the mortgage. My dad and Pete jumped straight in to help. Dad eventually opened a newer and better Seafood space (leased stalls) in Lexington Market and named it Green Bay Seafood.
The Seventies – The Next Generation
Our father, now had seafood businesses in two other locations in The Hollins and The Cross Street Markets. Why not, he had three sons, Louie, Nicky, and Tommy. He infused into us The Spirit of Saint Louie, Papou, Louis Chagouris – Proud Spartan, Proud American, with a huge work ethic, an ability to count, say Fresh Fish, Please, and Thank You sincerely. Lou and I have been to college but we agree, this was our most valuable education.
Lou and I hold a debt of deeply felt Gratitude towards America for allowing our poor immigrant grandparents the opportunity to pursue their happiness. My grandparents never asked for anything else from America. For what more could they ask after America gave them their Dream? Indeed, they gave back by allowing their three sons to fight for theirs and for all our freedom.
A Century of Love
That’s What’s In The Fish at Crabbydaddy and The Woodlands Seafood Company that makes it so good.