New Lambton diners have welcomed Our Taste of Greece to Alder Park Bowling Club with open arms.
Martes Kakavas and her husband Con made the decision to move from Dixon Park Surf Club, where the restaurant operated on a Sunday, a month prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Australia.
Our Taste of Greece is now open Friday and Saturday from 5pm, and on Sunday from noon. Bookings are required.
"We're seeing a lot of familiar faces and repeat customers, and a lot of New Lambton people too. It's unbelievable how well it's been going," Martes Kakavas told Food & Wine.
She is in charge of the kitchen, the cooking, the menu and everything else in-between.
The Kakavas family started the business 12 years ago, selling Greek honey puffs at the Newcastle City Farmers Market. The business stayed afloat during the COVID-19 lockdown by offering weekly home deliveries.
"It has taken us 12 years to get where we wanted to be," Kakavas explained.
"We've done it slowly as a family, a little bit at a time. We couldn't have made this move without our customers and our amazing staff. All of them have returned to work for us."
Kakavas has plans for regular barefoot bowls with a Greek barbecue down the track, as well as an official launch that she calls "Our Big Fat Greek Opening".
"As soon as we get the go-ahead to have 100 people on-site, that will happen. I've already got 40 tickets on hold for people," she said.
"We have also had lots of enquiries about functions and birthday parties because we also run Seaside Catering, Weddings & Events, which is not confined to Greek food."
So far, the Greek sampler board, the souvlaki platter for one and the halloumi fires have proven popular with diners and the Greek lamb pizza is "going off" on Friday nights.
"Oh, and the honey puffs. People who live nearby are coming in just to buy takeaway honey puffs for dessert."
It took Kakavas seven years to perfect the Greek recipes handed down to her from Con's great grandmother in Patras, under the watchful eye of her parents-in-law Vicki and George Kakavas.
They also instilled in her the value of good customer service.
"Every sitting, as soon as all the meals are out, I meet the customers. I mingle with every single table," she said. "It's a lot of fun."
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