Interview with Power Journalist and Foodie, Markos Papadatos

Markos Papadatos work and voice in music journalism is an inspiration. From reviews of up and coming artists to interviews with hit makers, he gives real insights to music and songwriting. I caught up with the New York powerhouse by phone for a wide-ranging and entertaining conversation about Effie’s Bistro, best places to eat, and how he got started in journalism.

How did you originally become interested in journalism?
Journalism slapped me in the face… I started off at my college newspaper when they were looking for writers, and was hooked ever since. I was studying elementary education at the time, but there were no jobs due to a hiring freeze here in New York. So I was subbing in the daytime, and covering events in the afternoons and evenings… and 11.5 years later I have continued to do so.

What is the most exciting thing about your job
Every day is an adventure! I love getting in the brains of my favorite artists and delve beyond the surface and see what inspires and motivates them. I love being able to interview all these many childhood heroes of mine!

What is the most memorable piece you’ve worked on during your career so far?
LOVE this question!! Two answers…. one was Phillip Phillips and one was Criss Angel!
1) One of my all-time favorite interviews I’ve ever written was my interview with American Idol winner Phillip Phillips… As an article of mine, I feel it was a masterpiece, since it was an incredible story about his odyssey (and overcoming kidney stones) and how he won that season, as America’s musical gentleman. He is such a nice guy, and an exceptional role model. His emotional win that season, made me cry for joy for him… as he was celebrating with his parents, in tears. 
2) Criss Angel… getting my very first interview with him was a dream come true!
Back in my college days in 2009, one of my professors asked me on the first day of class to write two truths and a lie about myself on a piece of paper, as an ice-breaker activity, where the class would have to guess which was the incorrect fact. I wrote down “I interviewed Criss Angel” as one of the incorrect facts at the time. When it was my chance, many classmates all laughed since they picked out the incorrect fact right away. The professor, who was also amused, responded: “I said to write down two truths and a lie, not two truths and a dream.” At that moment the odds were against me… but after six years of non-stop hard work and perseverance, I proved everybody wrong…. Fast forward to 2015, and NOW I HAVE THE LAST LAUGH!!!! I interviewed Criss three times that same year! The “power-journalist” made that DREAM a reality!

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
My dream would be to someday interview Tim Tebow or Alison Krauss in the music department. She has the voice of an angel. I’ve interviewed 3/5 of her band Alison Krauss and Union Station (Dan Tymnski, Jerry Douglas and Ron Block), but never her.

Most of us have food experiences or memories that we cherish. Maybe a specific dish mom used to make, or a night out with a loved one that was just unforgettable. What food experience or memory really locked you into loving food?
My mom’s spinach pie… (hence my mom’s famous kitchen, Effie’s Bistro)…Wow… it’s my favorite thing on planet Earth… she makes the crust very thin, and it is simply delicious and healthy at the same time! Thankfully, she doesn’t use any salt in it, just feta cheese. As a kid, I would eat it every day for school lunch, and I would never get tired of it.
To this day, when I would come home from two hour traffic on the Long Island Expressway in New York, the aroma of my mom’s spinach pie would lure me in from the front door to the kitchen, and we would devour it.

What is your earliest food memory?
Same as previous question… Spinach pie at Effie’s Bistro!

What is that one thing your mom cooks that you like to binge on?
I LOVE Greek salad… it’s healthy and tasty, and I could live on that!

@Markos Papadatos Best Greek salad EVER!!!! You outdo yourselves all the time!!! 5/5 stars. Neraki Greek Mediterranean Grill

Tell us about the one memorable meal you had while you were travelling?
While visiting Nashville, I realized that they fry everything there! When I was there four summers ago, I had fried green tomatoes for the first time, which was interesting and totally different.
The same was true was when I went to a local restaurant, they put bacon in everything (The Row, which I do like since it has nice country artist portraits). I’m not really a fan of bacon, but they would have bacon on macaroni and cheese and inside of it… too much hehe… but I did like fried okra in Nash Vegas.

If you designed your own food tour of New York, which restaurants/bars would be on your list of places to visit?

  • Neraki Greek Mediterranean Grill in Huntington, NY (Long Island)
  • Anchor Down New York (Seafood Bar and Grill) located in Merrick, NY
  • R.S. Jones in Merrick… which has nice Cajun cuisine.
  • GreeKrave in Deer Park, New York, I love for its gyros
  • Kalamaki GR I love in Bayside, Queens, for its nice modern style Greek cuisine
  • Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood and Grill located on Bell Blvd in Queens, I like for its Mediterranean cuisine
  • Bar-Nightclub… I love Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall in Wantagh for its food and entertainment/live music. (I LOVE their Caesar salad with their grilled chicken on top of it… and their grilled chicken Caesar wraps!)

What is the one place you have always dreamed of dining?
I feel like I live my dining dream every night at my mom’s kitchen, aka Effie’s Bistro… so I’m fulfilled in that department. Nothing compares to her cooking, and I know exactly what’s in it, since I witness her making it.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?
Fried green tomatoes

For fun, can you give an example of a “typical day” of eating for you, whether you are going out with friends or cooking at home.
When I’m at home, I rely on my chef mom to cook at Effie’s Bistro… when I’m out reviewing shows or covering stories, I try to eat at one of my favorite restaurants at any of the locations listed above 🙂 They are all great.

Do you have a great recipe to share? 
Yes, my mom’s Cinnamon Cookies.

Effie Papadatos’ Cinnamon cookies

1 pound sweet butter
1 envelope yeast
3 cups of flour (more, if needed)
1 small heavy cream (4 ounces)
3 egg yolks

For Top:

1.5 cup sugar
2 cups fine chopped nuts
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 jar raspberry jelly (8 ounces)


Mix soft butter with flour then add heavy cream, beat eggs and add them in. Add the yeast mixed in little water. Refrigerate at least 1.5 hours. Don’t use mixer, mix with your hands. Take small pieces of the dough like a walnut shape. Spread it apart little by little and make it flat. Wrap the walnut in sugar and cinnamon, all of which are mixed in one bowl. In the inside, spread the jelly and wrap it in a circle. Bake cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Finally for Battered and Brewed, If you could eat or have a drink with one person dead or alive, who would it be and what would you have…
I would LOVE to someday have a drink or eat with Tim Tebow, and while I’m there I would love to interview him as well, since he is my dream male interview in life. I was inspired by him ever since I read his autobiography “Through My Eyes: A Quarterback’s Journey”. Tim is a man of great character and a true philanthropist, in addition to a hard-working athlete. I would probably take Tim to my mom’s kitchen, Effie’s Bistro, if I could, so he could enjoy the best Greek cuisine possible.
The second person would be veteran publicist Ken Phillips…. Ken is one of my best friends in the music and entertainment industry, and the best male publicist out there! He has been such an amazing mentor and role model to me all these years, who has celebrated some really cool milestones with me and my journalistic career. I would take him to Magnolia Bakery next to Radio City in Manhattan, NY, where he would have a doughnut or a cookie, and I would have a libation in the form of a Diet Coke.

@Markos Papadatos STANDING OVATION to my MOM Effie for these!!!!! #EffiesBistro strikes again! AMAZING!!!


Markos Papadatos Digital Journal’s Editor-at-Large for music news.Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 7,000 articles over the past 11 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music including Aerosmith, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Dame Vera Lynn, Olivia Newton-John, Donny Osmond, Marie Osmond, Lee Ann Womack, Idina Menzel, Mike Posner, Hank Williams Jr., Connie Smith, Lynn Anderson, Martina McBride, Cheap Trick, Rascal Flatts, Backstreet Boys, N Sync, New Kids on the Block, Kiefer Sutherland, Cyndi Lauper, Carol Burnett, Fran Drescher, Ray Price, Charley Pride, Armin van Buuren, Hardwell, The Marshall Tucker Band, Megadeth, Barenaked Ladies, Andy Summers of The Police, Charlie Daniels, Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart, Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson from The Bangles, Matchbox 20, Hot Chelle Rae, Martin Garrix, Jewel, Amy Grant, Kris Allen, David Cook and Phillip Phillips from American Idol, Cody Simpson and Austin Mahone, Daniel Powter, Matt Nathanson, Little Big Town, Easton Corbin, Chris Young, Sandi Patty, Matthew West, Paul van Dyk and Sander van Doorn, Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls, Dan Tyminski, Ron Block and Jerry Douglas from Alison Krauss and Union Station, Rhonda Vincent, Del McCoury, Gene Watson, among countless others.He has also interviewed Olympic gold medalist in wrestling Mark Schultz (whose life was made into the film “Foxcatcher”), as well as Olympic gold medalist in diving David Boudia, Olympic gold medalist Michelle Carter in shot put, Olympic bronze medalist pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, and the world’s greatest magician Criss Angel.In 2017, he won “Best Twitter from Long Island” for @Powerjournalist in the Arts & Entertainment category in the “Best of Long Island.”
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