Leslie Moutsatsos met her husband – and now business partner – George Moutsatsos over 30 years ago in Sudbury, Ontario. “He was cute and we just clicked,” recalls Leslie, co-owner of Lynsos Inc., better known as Pat and Mario’s Restaurant (Pat and Mario’s). Since Pat and Mario’s founding in 1984, the couple has shared their passion for the food service industry and exuberance for fresh, quality food that reigns true to their Italian-Greek Canadian heritage.
One Part Greek, One Part Italian
George arrived in Sudbury as a teenager from his hometown of Metamorfosis, Greece. “In those days you needed a sponsor to come to Canada,” shares Leslie, a born-and-bred Ontario native. “George’s sponsor was his uncle, who happened to own a restaurant. He spent his early years in the restaurant cooking and helping his uncle.”
Shortly after meeting in 1981, the pair joined Casey’s Roadhouse (Casey’s), a restaurant with a new dining concept that was attracting a great deal of buzz across Ontario. “Casey’s offered a new dining concept that Sudbury desperately needed,” Leslie says. “It was unlike anything else in the area at that time.”
In 1984, Leslie and George decided to embrace their industry experience and passion. “The name Pat and Mario’s comes from a fictional story about two guys that met at a food show; an Irishman and an Italian,” explains Leslie. “The purpose was to combine an Irish-style bar with a classic Italian-style dining room. Although things have evolved and changed and we’re completely different from the original beer and pizza kind of restaurant Pat and Mario’s used to be, we’re still here and we’re still continuing to meet our guests’ dining needs.”
Pat and Mario’s remains family-owned and -operated today, with the only location in Sudbury. In fact, Leslie and George’s three children, along with 85 other employees, are involved in the daily happenings of the restaurant, from the kitchen to the dining room.
“We focus on casual fine dining with a comfortable atmosphere and good, quality fresh food,” adds Leslie. “There’s no certain dress code here. Our service and quality are the same no matter if you’re on a business lunch, in from shopping with your friends or meeting your family for dinner.”
Leslie says Pat and Mario’s offerings are directly related to the family’s cultural influences and heritage. “Our menu has evolved, and truly reflects our traditional cultural influences and tastes,” she elaborates. “There is some Greek, some Italian and all passion.”
Pat and Mario’s culinary team loves keeping up with food trends and new ideas, while maintaining the menu’s traditional dishes, as well. “We love to introduce new items to our guests on a fairly regular basis,” Leslie says. “We change out our menu once a year and always have different feature menus available throughout the year. This spring saw the introduction of a maple-inspired menu with that celebrated our Canadian tradition of collecting and making maple syrup.”
Leslie goes on to note that the restaurant has changed significantly from the original pizza, pasta and beer restaurant. “However, what has never changed is our passion, our guests and our involvement with our community,” she says.
Despite a successful menu and quality employees, Leslie says the winter in Sudbury can put a damper on business. “The biggest factor can sometimes be weather,” she reveals. “In the middle of winter on a February Monday at negative 27 degrees Celsius with blowing snow can make for a long evening.”
Nonetheless, Leslie notes that Pat and Mario’s will always be looking for new and exciting offerings for guests. Additionally, the company strives to maintain the restaurant’s fresh look by constantly making changes. According to Leslie, she and George are anxious for the next renovation that will take place before the busy Christmas season.
“My husband and I have a long history in food and hospitality,” continues Leslie. “We’ve both worked in the industry from the time we were young adults. We understand the importance of hard work and our success and we like to share that with the community.”
Leslie and George are big supporters of local charities, but when an old school friend and family were directly affected by breast cancer, the duo was compelled to go above and beyond. “The Janis Foligno Foundation started after a local celebrity’s wife passed away after a battle with breast cancer,” Leslie explains. “Janis’ family revolves around the professional hockey world and we decided to tie in a local promotional menu focused on what we do best. And it’s not hockey; we do food best. For two years we have run a Boobies, Burgers & Beer special menu. When customers come in and order a burger we donate $2 to the foundation. So far our annual promotion has raised a little over $10,000 for the foundation.”
For nearly 30 years, the restaurant has been a beloved part of Sudbury. Lynsos Inc. has been serving up fine family-style meals with a Greek-Italian twist for generations, and the Moutsatsos family intends to keep it going for years to come.