The Athenian Grill has been serving Lexington as a pop-up vendor since September 2012 (You may have seen us at West Sixth Brewing Co., Country Boy Brewing, Lexington Beerworks, Pedal the Planet or Spaldings Bakery). So far, thanks to all of our fabulous customers, the community response has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re taking that to mean that Lexington LOVES Greek food! We want to be able to provide our family-inspired greek traditional dishes to you, something we are not able to do from our pop up operation. Dishes such us:
So with your help we are opening a brick and mortar location right in the heart of Chevy Chase!
On September 24, 2011 my uncle George passed away and I came immediately from Athens, Greece to help my Aunt Louiza. I only planned on being here temporarily but Lexington really started to grow on me...
I was raised in a small town in Greece. Spending my childhood watching my mom cook lamb on an open fire and my grandmother make fresh bread in her clay oven gave me a true love of food, family and community. I began cooking professionally while I was attending high school in my home town of Lamia and started dreaming of someday opening my own restaurant.
I continued to develop my culinary passion when I came to America to attend the University of Kentucky. When I wasn’t studying I took the opportunity to learn from my aunt and uncle, both accomplished chefs, and began working in Lexington restaurants.
After transferring to Florida International University I remained in Miami for 10 years gaining experience in local kitchens and solidifying my dream of owning a restaurant.
Now, with the help and support of my friends, family and community my dream is becoming a reality. This project is, of course, a chance to satisfy a need in Lexington for authentic Greek cuisine but for me it is also a way of honoring my uncle George who helped me learn not only how to cook but how to serve a community. George was a wonderful, happy person who loved meeting new people and making them smile with simple things like a really great piece of spinach pie. It is in this spirit that I am opening the Athenian Grill.
My vision is to transform and grow our pop-up into a local bistro, market and catering business. We will offer take-out, delivery, and catering services. There will be a small area for dining in as well as an outdoor patio where you can relax and enjoy a real Greek coffee and homemade pastry. We will have a small market where you can purchase some of the same ingredients we use in our own dishes as well as grab-and-go items like our roasted red pepper hummus or spinach pie.
By partnering with local farms and business and by importing quality international ingredients we will provide the community with fresh, authentic Greek food that Lexingtonians can truly enjoy and feel good about.
Please check out our Facebook page for additional information and pop-up locations in the meantime. www.facebook.com/atheniangrilllex
Risks and challenges
We expect our business, like any other, to have its fair share of ups and downs.
We are a small, local business and though we’ve only been in operation for 8 months we have developed a large customer base through our mobile pop-up kitchen. I have many years of experience in the food industry as well as a strong background in business. We know how to be flexible and we know that keeping our customers happy by providing a quality product at a great value must always be our first priority.
Our challenge is to transfer the energy and success we’ve gained through our mobile operation into a permanent location while continuing to build-up our catering business. We plan to address this with the help of social media and through the continued use of the pop-up kitchen to engage to community and connect with a wider customer base.
The location (formerly Belle’s Bakery) in Chevy Chase has a long history of successful food-related business so the community already associates this property with take-out and catering services.
We are working with a great design-build team at ALT32 Architecture | Design to transform the property inside and out to create a new and strong presence for our business. In order to get up and running, however, we need to purchase equipment, clean, fit-out the space and stock the market. We have gathered a lot of support already from friends and family but we still need some help and that is where you come in!
None of this will be possible without you, our customers and community. We would not be where we are today without your help and support. If you have enjoyed our food in the past or would like the opportunity to experience an authentic, Greek meal in the future, please consider offering your support to this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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