Goddess of wine in New York: the history of a sincere restaurant of Georgian cuisine
Badageoni is a newcomer to the restaurant business of New York, because it was opened only on 1 July 2019 year. It is located in Westchester County, New York State and is gaining more and more popularity every day. What attracts people to this secluded place, and why, having been here once, do they definitely want to come back here again? You will learn the answer to this question by reading the story of Badageoni.
Badagoni is the fertility goddess whose statue was found in Georgia in 1980's. Her age, for a minute, is 8 thousand years old! Among Georgians, she is considered not only the goddess of fertility, but also wine. Moreover, "badagi" in Georgian is a sweet juice from grapes.
And Badageoni fully corresponds to its name. In this restaurant you will find a large selection of wines that will appeal to even the most sophisticated gourmet. The wine list includes more than 20 different items with a detailed description of each brand.
“The number of Georgian wines impresses our guests. From the very beginning, when we just opened the restaurant, many visitors were fascinated by our drinks. And the best part is that it concerns the Americans, who knew almost nothing about Georgian cuisine. Adults are delighted with wine and chacha, and children cannot be dragged away from lemonade. For Westchester, this is new. And although we were a little afraid that not everyone would be able to appreciate the taste of Georgian dishes and drinks, the risks were justified, ”says Inga, co-owner of Badageoni.
Georgian hospitality in New York
Initially, the owner of the restaurant Giga planned to open an institution in Riverdale. But having studied other areas and neighborhoods where you can place your brainchild, brother and sister opted for Mount Kisco in Westchester County.
“This town has very friendly welcomed us. We felt warmth and love when we came here. It is calm and comfortable, beautiful nature, friendly people. All these factors played a big role in opening a restaurant in Mount Kisko, bringing here a piece of Georgian cuisine and soul, ”Inga admitted.
The owners of Badageoni were surprised that a large number of people from the countries of the former Soviet Union live in this district, as well as in the neighborhood.
“We understood that opening a restaurant is a risky business in itself. But we additionally risked because we did not know if there were Georgian or Russian communities nearby. Fortunately, in Westchester and around it, in Connecticut, there are a sufficient number of Russians, Georgians, Ukrainians, ”said Giga.
Nevertheless, the presence of "friends" nearby did not allow the owners of Badageoni to relax. Because, whatever one may say, most of their guests are Americans. So what does attract people to this secluded place, and why, having been here once, do they definitely want to return again? In a word, it’s not easy to answer, but the most appropriate answer is “sincerity”. After all, it is her presence in this restaurant that comes to the fore when you find yourself in it. And with every minute of your stay you begin to feel other factors of Georgian hospitality that captivate your heart.
“I believe that the key to our success is love. We try to put it in every cooked dish. It seems to me that if you do something with love, then you will succeed. When people are happy and come to us again - we are happy! A satisfied customer is the key to our happiness. After all, some had not even heard of Georgia before, not to mention Georgian food. They knew that there was such a state (the name of the state of Georgia and the country Georgia are spelled the same in English) and asked where our country was located geographically. Americans are open people who do not hide their emotions, therefore, looking at them, it is easy to understand whether they liked the dish or not, ”Inga notes.
Fun for children, the piano and the winner of Jurmala - the main highlights of Badageoni
As in most restaurants in Georgia, in Badageoni you will not find frozen foods or convenience foods. Chef Badageoni Nino, who has many years of experience in the elite cuisines of Georgia, Russia and Europe, spoke about this in more detail.
“The main highlight of this restaurant is that all dishes, as the chefs say, are prepared“ from under the knife ”. We have some blanks in the kitchen, but almost everything during the order is prepared from fresh products. Everything is like in Georgia. Almost (laughs). We do not have frozen products, we do everything practically on order. And the tastes are very close to the dishes of Georgian cuisine. Even better. I’m also a chemist by profession, therefore I am able to experiment with ingredients and, so to speak, “plant a taste” by choosing the right flavor spectrum. When you try our dishes - you will understand! Nothing stagnates at us: people order all the dishes that are on the menu, and it is very difficult to single out one thing. Soups, meat products, khachapuri, vegan dishes are ordered by everyone, ”says Nino.
According to the chef, unlike Georgia, Americans are much less likely to order kebabs of pork and beef. In the US, they prefer lamb dishes.
Separately, it is worth noting how badageoni is open for children, for whom Georgian dishes are a real wonder.
“We often come with children to visit us. They are the decoration of our restaurant. Children really like khachapuri in Adjarian and khinkali. They like to mix an egg with cheese, and then tear off the edges of the dough and stretch the cheese. For them it’s such fun. It turns out something like a cheese fondue. And in khinkali they are amused by the feature that they do not need a fork and knife, you can just hold them with your hands and bite. Children enjoy themselves with khinkali uniforms and how juice flows out of them, ”Inga laughs, noting that along with khachapuri the children are delighted with soft drinks. Their favorite is Tarhun.
“We offer them a choice of delicious sweet tea or lemonade, but they always order lemonade,” she said.
Another highlight of Badageoni is the vintage piano.
On Thursdays, restaurant visitors are pleased with the Georgian pianist Irakli Sharadze, who plays various compositions for the guests of the restaurant. And on Sundays, everyone can enjoy live music performed by the winner of Jurmala Nini Shermadini.
“She is well known in Georgia, as well as outside the country. She can perform any world hit. It’s not a problem for her to sing in Georgian, Russian or English. Her voice is gorgeous! And for many, she has already become a favorite in the restaurant, ”Inga admires.
However, not only invited stars have the opportunity to entertain visitors to Badageoni. One could verify this literally immediately after the interview, when one of the guests went up to the piano and asked permission to play it. Having received approval from Gigi and Inga, the girl performed several compositions, causing a standing ovation from the visitors present and applause from the owners of the establishment.
As it turned out, a guest from Kiev not only knows how to play talentedly, but also does it professionally. In confirmation of this, Irena Portenko handed the owners a disc with her compositions as a keepsake.
Promotions, discounts and future plans
Many restaurants have a happy hours system, where visitors are offered meals at special prices. Badageoni does not lag behind modern trends.
“We regularly change offers, choosing the dish of the day. We look at what people like most and constantly make changes to the menu. We also make discounts and offer special meals during happy hours, Giga notes.
In addition, Badageoni is thinking about introducing discount cards for regular restaurant guests.
“Most of our visitors are regular customers. When they come again every week, this is a sign that they like our kitchen. Therefore, for such guests we plan to introduce special discounts. We want people to feel our gratitude and want to come back to us again and again, ”Inga emphasized.
In winter, Badageoni will keep you warm not only thanks to tea, but also with the help of Georgian soups.
“For the winter, we have kharcho and chikhirtma. When it's cold outside, our visitors have the opportunity to warm themselves with hot soups. By the way, many people don’t know, but Chihirtma is very suitable for fighting a hangover, ”Inga noted.
In general, the owners of Badageoni very modestly talk about the future of their restaurant. Although they do not hide the fact that they would like to open another institution.
“We have many thoughts and ideas that we would like to implement. But we are still a new place. People come, learn about us, enjoy Georgian cuisine, and we try to meet their expectations, be at a high level and continue to improve. At the moment, our business is growing. Every week there are more and more visitors, people come to celebrate birthdays, and also hold corporate parties and arrange various parties. Of course, we would like to open another restaurant, but it’s too early to talk about it yet, ”said Giga.
From myself, I would like to sincerely wish these wonderful people prosperity and successful continuation of the family business. After all, when you put love, soul and a piece of your heart into the business, everything must necessarily turn out!
Georgia is a country of ancient culture, famous for its winemaking and rich cuisine. It is located on the Black Sea coast, surrounded by majestic mountains. Soil and climate make it possible to produce healthy and environmentally friendly products. That is why Georgian dishes are distinguished by their aroma, excellent taste and benefits.
Georgian cuisine has evolved over the centuries. There is a significant difference between the regional cuisines of this mountainous country. East Georgian cuisine is known for its meat and wine, while Western Georgia offers more walnut and phali dishes.
Georgia is called a wine-making country due to weather conditions and soil, allowing to grow more than five hundred grape varieties. Most of them are ancient and unique, found only in Georgia.
In addition to tasty and healthy Georgian cuisine, diverse and unique grape varieties, Georgia is also known for its hospitality. With a small but surprisingly tasty menu, Badagheoni is trying to expand the boundaries of love for Georgian cuisine and wine, introducing them to the motley public of New York State.
More information about the restaurant can be found on his Onlinebut it’s better to still get to know him by visiting in person, the institution is located at: 26-28 Main St, Mt Kisco, NY 10549, United States
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