Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.
Atmosphere: Greek, Italian and American food in a friendly, casual setting.
Price range: Soups and appetizers from $1 to $3.75; dinners from $5.50 for baked manicotti to $12.95 for lobster fra diavolo; sandwiches $2.95 to $5.95.
Reservations: Not necessary, but advisable when dining with a large group.
Credit cards: American Express, MasterCard, Visa.
Special facilities: Booster seats; parking lot; no curb cuts from the parking lot to restaurant level.
The key to successful family outings, we have discovered, lies in finding a restaurant that has a wide variety of food. Only in such a place do we have a chance of pleasing the child who invariably wants a hamburger in a Chinese restaurant or spaghetti in a deli.
At Gus' even the pickest child should be satisfied. The restaurant specializes in Greek and Italian food, and also has a respectable list of seafood, steaks, sandwiches and salads on the menu.
The ambience unfortunately isn't all that one could hope for. The decor is the typical unthinking mixture that ranges from ubiquitous red-flocked wall paper and pictures of coats of arms to quite nice bentwood chairs.
Although we had been told by friends that Gus' was a good place to take kids, the signs did not seem to be propitious. The Saturday evening we dined there, no other youngsters were in sight. Also, there was no children's menu, nor did the waiter offer to split dishes. A family can manage, however, by falling back on sandwiches for the small fry who can't handle a full dinner. Our 7-year-old settled for a charcoal-broiled chopped sirloin steak sandwich, $3.75, accompanied by fat French fries.
To start, we ordered Greek olives and slightly salty, crumbly feta cheese, $2.50, both of which were excellent. Then came large plates of salad, mostly iceberg lettuce with a house dressing that was heavy on garlic and vinegar. The salad was redeemed, however, by buttery croutons. Served with the salad was a basket of rolls, neither fresh nor crusty. Perhaps if they had been warmed, it would have helped.
For the main courses, my husband and older daughter went Italian. From a list ranging from veal parmigiana to homemade lasagna, the 11-year-old chose spaghetti and meatballs, $5.95. The pasta came in a thick, rich but rather too spicy sauce. The meatballs were nicely flavored, with a consistency that indicated someone in the kitchen knew about breading.
My husband tried a combination platter of ravioli, meatballs, spaghetti and coarse, bland sausage, $7.95. The meat-filled ravioli tasted homemade and were tender as dumplings.
My marinated shish kebab, $7.95, also was good. It was served with rice pilaf. Other Greek specialities included lamb in wine sauce, $6.75, and moussaka, $6.25.
After all that food, we somehow managed to eat a serving of baklava, a concoction of flaky pastry, honey and chopped nuts. Again, it was homemade and melted in the mouth. Other desserts were carrot cake and cheesecake.
The bill for the four of us, including soft drinks, coffee, tax and tip, came to $40.77.