Considering a drive through the country with a stop for hearty food? Three Star Family Restaurant (10770 Main St., North Collins), is the spot for you. Josif Popjanevski has owned the restaurant for 37 years and was partners with his brother in law until a few years ago. The restaurant serves big plates of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but off site catering accounts for a large part of the business. Remember to bring cash; credit cards aren’t accepted. If you’re hungry, it’s worth a stop at the ATM. I talked to Joe about cash vs. credit, souvlaki and more.
Question: You’ve had this restaurant a long time. What do people come here for?
Popjanevski: We have excellent fish fries, souvlaki, soups made here, and great sandwiches. We get customers from all over, especially for our fish fry - we get them as far as Buffalo - they come out for broiled fish and deep fried fish. Our homemade sausage is delicious. I also sell it by the pound.
Q: Some restaurants claim to be 4 or 5 star, how did you come up with the name 3 Star?
A: I still don’t know to this day. My brother in law was the one who picked the name, to be honest with you. People ask me and I don’t know. I think he was into sports and liked hockey and the selection of the three stars, but I’m not sure of that. Everyone tells me I should make it 5 Star - when the customers tell you Joe, you have to raise the prices, you know it’s good.
Q: How popular is your catering service?
A: We’ve been catering for 30 years. We offer full catering for weddings, anniversaries, engagements and we do drop offs too. The most popular catering items are the chicken and pork chops and the roast beef and potatoes.
Q: It sounds like you are busy. How do you keep up with the demand?
A: I don’t stop! I put in about 16-18 hours a day. I get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and get done at about 9 at night every day. All the catering goes through my hands including the food that gets prepared.
Q: Do you ever get sick of it?
A: I love it! I love being around people I like to visit customers as much as I can.
Q: I noticed a sign on the door that says no credit cards accepted. Is that a problem?
A: They usually bring cash and if they don’t have cash, we can take checks and sometimes I’ve told them come back or just send us money. I trust people. One time a guy from Rochester came and was here for a funeral and the family came in here to eat and he only had a credit card. I said take the bill and mail me the money. He says, ‘You trust me? You don’t know me.’ The bill was $126. So he went back and mailed me the money with a nice letter saying he’s been to all kinds of restaurants and he’s never had anyone like me who was that faithful. So far in 37 years, I only got stood up twice.
Q: Do you have advice for people who have never eaten here?
A: They have to try the food. If they’ve never been out here, they have to take a ride. They won’t be disappointed.