10421 Gouin O.
Bus: STM 68, 205, 206, 208, 209, 213, 407, 468
Visit: March 13, 2014
Success is often made out of second chances. I’m so grateful that I got a second chance in my career, where I’m doing a whole lot better than the first time around. Like in life, restaurants or locations often face the prospect of getting a second chance. Located in the West Island, Athena is a place that is rebuilding a reputation.
Over the last little while, I’ve been sharing some of the pizza visits that I’ve been making through the month of March. With a list of 25 pizzas that everyone has to try getting released around that time, pizza is getting a lot of attention, especially with me. I was flirting with the idea of changing the focus of the blog to pizza or opening a side wing dedicated solely to one of my favorite dishes. But, I’m going to stick with the burger thing because I have a lot still left to conquer over there.
Before I set off on that trek, I asked around for suggestions through my various social media outlets and came across Athena. Without the people who support the insane things I share, I would be stuck without good ideas and for that, I’m eternally grateful. With a perfect window of free time in my schedule, I was ready to take the train a few stations down the line to see what Athena was all about.
I arrived on a Thursday afternoon to find that I was the only customer in sight. It was still a little bit before the dinner rush and it wasn’t that shocking to see. With this, I was able to sit down at any table I wanted. I regret the decision to choose the corner booth because it affected the quality of the pictures somewhat. Regardless of that, the idea of pizza is preserved.
Since it was still a little early, the restaurant was staffed by one server, who turned out to be quite cordial. Like any new place, the staff was eager to know how things were. I found that I was asked a little more than normal. I was actually quite happy to tell them how I found out about Athena. It was really by word of mouth. A little later on, I got to find out a little more about the situation of the restaurant.
Having officially opened its doors in December, Athena replaced a place known as Gigi. There are a few pizza places with that name and they might be related. From what I was told, Gigi really soured the neighborhood and things weren’t so peachy in the later days. Athena, with the new administration, has a lot of work to do. Trying to get the neighbors back is going to be tough.
Since I was alone in the place, I got a really good look at the dining room. I couldn’t help but notice that there was some Greek in the decor and the other less forgivable items that I can’t not mention. It’s nice that there’s a Habs banner, but one can’t help but notice that there is a rival team nearby. As I’m writing this post, I’m mentally prepping for a trip to that city, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to become a fan. This is just the hockey fanatic in me worrying about Habs Nation.
Greek Salad ($6.25)
To start things off, I chose to go the predictable route. Since there’s a Greek influence on the menu, it was only fitting to go with my favorite type of salad. For what you see in the sunny picture, the portion was really nice. There was an ample amount of the prime items. I was really pleased with the amount of feta. The only strange thing was when I tasted the cheese. It reminded me of cheddar too much. Hopefully, it’s just me.
Athena Special ($12.50)
This pizza contains mushrooms, onions, green peppers, mozzarella, pepperoni, and bacon.
Whenever I look at a burger, I try to take in the sights. I feel that I could do the same thing here with pizza. Right off the bat, I could tell that I would like the style of pizza I was getting. The ingredients are plentiful and that would be enough to feed an army. Trust me, I know what I’m saying there, as I left completely stuffed.
Looking at the cross-section of the slice of pizza, I saw just how much was put on a slice. So, when I picked up a piece, there was a lot of effort being put in to keep things in place. With so much on top, it doesn’t make things that easy. That was probably the only real weakness of the pizza I tried on this day. Then again, who am I to complain about having too much food?
As things progressed, the pizza, since there was so much of it, got a little bit harder to put down. But, what I will say is that I really like the crust, sauce distribution, and the good amount of bacon. When you don’t have to worry about running out in your first bite, you have a positive thing going.
After I barely finished the pizza, I was really full and satisfied all at the same time. It was around this time where I got to chatting a bit with the server to find out a bit about Athena. I wasn’t really going to pursue dessert, but the cake that was described to me sounded too good to pass up.
The cake, which was probably brought in from elsewhere, was like a fruit version of a blackforest cake. It reminded me a lot of the type of cake that my extended family would bring to birthday suppers. Knowing that I was full and how much I can’t refuse good dessert, I worked my way through this piece of cake like it was the last thing I would ever eat. All this to say that the cake wasn’t half bad.
Athena is slowly gaining a following, as phones were ringing off the hook at the end of my visit. The staff in the dining room is really polite people and the food is something that the common folk would really love. I wouldn’t mind coming back here and trying some of the Greek dishes.