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HOT DISH: Greek on the Go

Once a month, including today, you can get your lunch out from Saint Katherine's.



Photo courtesy of Saint Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church

Saint Katherine's, home to an annual food festival of Olympic proportions each February, has launched a monthly drive-thru.

Usually from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the first or second Friday of the month, "Taste of Greece" will let you pull up to the parking lot and grab a big, fat, Greek gyro, spanakopita, baklava and more, prepared by a team of 25 volunteers in the church's commercial kitchen. It's a Herculean undertaking, but they saw a market ripe with opportunity—and they knew they were in good hands.

"Yiayia Bessie, my mother who is 87 years old, gave us her authentic recipes," says Gregoris Morakeas, the drive-thru chairman. "We're buying more expensive olive oils. Our tzatziki sauce we make from scratch each day. We did it one time when it was pre-made, and it didn’t taste right."

Although yiayia ("grandma") contributed most of the recipes, an invention by Gregoris became an instant hit: lamb sliders—three “Greek baguettes” (crunchy French rolls) stuffed with shavings of meat and ample au jus. He also credits pappou (“grandpa”) Mike for being a huge help in the kitchen.

The plan is to do it every month, likely taking a pause in January and possibly February because of the festival. But Gregoris has epic thoughts for future growth. They've already purchased a POS system (to be able to introduce a customer loyalty program); another idea is to prepare gift baskets around holidays with products like imported olives and freshly baked cookies. Pre-ordering with a credit card by phone [(239) 591-3430, ext. 9] has already launched—but just make sure to place your order at least 30 minutes prior to pick-up.

“Everybody including myself is volunteering their time and effort,” he says. “As we go along, we’re making a little money and everything is for the church.”

 

Planning a visit:

Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church

7100 Airport-Pulling Road N., Naples

(239) 591-3430

For a schedule of upcoming dates, click here.

For a menu, click here.

 

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