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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Greek Music and Belly Dancing @ Athenian Corner Restaurant

Last night, my friend and I went to the Athenian Corner Restaurant for their event featuring Greek music and belly dancing. It took us almost an hour to get there because we got lost and almost ended up in Tewksbury twice. Finally, after stopping at a Hannaford supermarket, we finally got directions to the elusive Market St.

(Picture of sign outside.) We were seated around quarter of eight. The band was still setting up for the night. The lights were kept low and each of the small tables had a candle and living daisies. It was very busy, since it was a Saturday night, and all of the tables were very close together. Even in this tight space, the restaurant did not feel claustrophobic. There was also two blue glasses on every table. These glasses were used for ice water, which the waitress continuously filled throughout the night.

(Picture of Freddie Elias and the drummer for the band.) Before the band was set up yet, Freddie Elias, the resident violinist, played a "Happy Birthday" tune for one of the customers. Elias was having a lot of fun, throughout the night, between customers, his fellow band mates and the belly dancer.

As you can see in the pictures, the back wall is completely blue. Behind the wall, hides the kitchens. The wall is decorated in white with Greek patterns and the restaurants symbol of Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom and war. This same blue is reflected in the waiters and waitresses uniform.

We ordered our food not long after arriving. I ordered the Chicken Souvlaki Sandwich with Egg-Lemon soup and rice pilaf. My friend was not very hungry and just ordered the Egg-Lemon soup. The soup arrived quickly with four slices of fresh bread and butter. While having our soup, we ordered the Greek Kiss. This is a strong shot that is a specialty of the Athenian Corner. It did not knock me on the floor, but it did clear out the sinuses.

Not long after finishing our soups, the waitress cleared the table and brought my sandwich and rice pilaf. The rice was completely cooked and covered in a sauce similar to marinara. The combination was shockingly amazing. The sandwich was a large piece of grilled chicken wrapped with a large piece of Syrian bread. The Tzatziki sauce was very sweet compared to the onions and tomatoes.

(Picture of Zameena in her dance.) After finishing my sandwich and ordering humus and pita bread, the belly dancer made her appearance. Her name is Zameena. On Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant features their more talented belly dancers. Zameena was, in fact, very talented. She came out in a twirl of gold, smelling of a very wonderful flowery perfume. She had finger cymbals that she used to repeat the same beat (no matter what the band was playing). This beat never counteracted the songs she danced to, however. She wore a golden shawl over her shoulder that she used in her dance and later removed.

(Picture of the Freddie Elias Ensemble performing.) During one song, Zameena was accompanied only by the drum, Elias watched with a grin as her hips moved in small, fast gestures. During her last song of the night, Zameena danced around the restaurant, collecting tips. Since she had the finger cymbals, she was unable to hold the money in her hands. Instead, the patrons of the restaurant slipped them into the straps of her tops and some even into the waist of her skirt. She kept a positive and charming smile on the entire time she danced. With a flurry at the end of the song, she ran out of the restaurant and up the stairs to where she had been hiding previously.

At the end of the night, my friend and I left very satisfied. The food was delicious and filling. The atmosphere was friendly and inviting. The waitress was very nice and fast. Above all, the tables were cleared and cleaned almost as soon as patrons left.

For more events and further information on the restaurant, visit www.atheniancorner.com.

By the newest intern to Lowell Handmade, Melanie M. Benefield.

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