Diners can now get a new taste of the Old World – Brigitta and Mike Gyorfi recently opened up Brigitta’s Hungarian Restaurant at 202 Hwy. 31 E.
Brigitta was born in a small village in Hungary, and Mike is half-Hungarian.
The couple used to be in the antique furniture business in Colorado, where they would import goods from Hungary and other eastern European countries. They then went into the sign business and relocated to East Texas.
After shuttering the sign operation, the pair put their heads together and cooked up a new course.
“We’ve never been in the restaurant business,” Brigitta said, “but we knew that our food was pretty good.”
The Gyorfis debuted their Hungarian cuisine at last year’s Oktoberfest in downtown Kilgore. They used to participate in food shows around the country where they would cook Hungarian gulyas (goulash) or chicken paprikas.
“People could smell it from the hallways and they liked it and came in because of that,” Brigitta said. “So we decided from then on to open a restaurant.”
The Gyorfis live in Gladewater, but chose Kilgore because of the “nice” people. They had considered four different locations and ultimately decided on a former bar that they then renovated over the course of three months.
“How can we make it inviting?” Brigitta wondered. “So we added the windows, demolished part of the building for the drive-thru, moved the bathrooms.”
The food is mostly family recipes that the family has had passed down to them, heart, stick-to-your-ribs meals. So far, the beef paprikas has become one of the most popular menu options.
“It’s hand-mashed potatoes made from scratch, raw garlic,” Brigitta said, reluctant to give away her grandparents’ secret ingredients: “I can’t say too much of about our recipes.”
According to the Gyorfis, they’re already enjoying positive feedback from East Texas’ very small, local Hungarian population, grateful to get a taste of home.
“They love it; actually one of them comes back every Monday to eat with us. We are even planning a Hungarian get together sometime in the near future.”
One of the most distinguishable factors about the restaurant is that it’s home cooked with real family recipes passed down; however, another huge focus for the new restaurateurs is great customer service.
“We do everything in we can in our power to customers happy,” Brigitta added. “Our philosophy is good food, good customer service and a clean place to eat.”
For more information, log on to Facebook.com/HungarianRestaurant. Brigitta’s Hungarian Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, with lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.