Souvlaki Bar In Monastiraki- Trendy Greek Gyros

  • by XpatAthens
  • Monday, 16 February 2015
Souvlaki Bar In Monastiraki- Trendy Greek Gyros

Souvlaki Bar is a taverna featuring healthy fast-food in an attractive and inviting environment. Located on a small pedestrian street between Monastiraki and the Ancient Agora, Souvlaki Bar aims to present traditional Greek street food with a new look. The financial crisis has created a situation where people still want to go out to eat, but are more careful with how much they can spend. They want good tasting food made with quality ingredients in an attractive and inviting setting. Souvlaki Bar is the brainchild of Dimitris Zimonopoulos and Michalis Economou, two forty-something businessmen who met in 1997 when they each bought McDonald’s franchises. Zimonopoulos has a background in as an auditor and business consultant at Price Waterhouse, while Economou was an importer of high fashion from Italy. After running their individual franchises for over a decade they decided that they, and the market, needed a change.

They saw that their main competition was souvlaki and giros, but that the presentation and organization of most outlets was lacking in both quality and innovation. Their goal was to put together an entity which would provide the customer with healthy food, using quality ingredients in a modern setting.

They decided that they wanted to be in Monastiraki, an area which is associated with traditional Greek food. They also wanted to be in an area that was frequented by both Greeks and foreign tourists. The location between, Ermou and Adrianou Street, overlooks a small municipal park which is bordered by the Odeon Maria Callas and small neo-classical buildings.

After interviewing a number of design firms, they settled on the creative team of Fotini B. Daliani and Konstantinou Plaggeti, AIEN 1:1, which provided them with two contrasting proposals. One was a traditional souvlatzithiko, while the other was minimal, using materials such as wood, iron and cement. The partners opted for the second option because they felt the area itself dictated these materials. Their building had formerly been a lumber shop, while several iron makers are located just up the road.

The partners actively participated in the design process, requesting that the back wall be a series of images representing the tools and the ingredients used in their menus. Stencils of cows, pigs, butcher’s tools and utensils in black and white make a bold statement of what Souvlaki Bar is all about. They then commissioned Angelo B. Boloto to create a logo which features a meat cleaver, two souvlakia and a bar code. This logo appears on the paper used to wrap the pitas, the aprons of the cooks and waiters, as well as their business cards.

They also came up with a new way of presenting their food. Taking an inspiration from bars, they created small shots “sfinakia” of pitas which are served standing upright in a metal tray. Mustards and other sauces, which they make themselves, are served in a similar fashion.

The ingredients they use are from suppliers that use the HACCP system of quality as well as ISO standards set by the European Union. A number of their ingredients have been created for Souvlaki Bar exclusively. Their cooks are trained at Le Monde seminars and they themselves feel they are in a continuous learning process.

In keeping with their commitment to Greek traditional food, they serve Craft Athens Lager beer, while their wines are from the Evharis and Lafazanis wineries in Attica. The menu also features vegetable dishes and salads in addition to meat based dishes. Potatoes are hand cut and they use only Extra Virgin olive oil. Their reasonable prices are the same for in-house and take-out.

Souvlaki Bar 2105150550
Adrianou and Thessio 15


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