GREEKS ABROAD
The Changing Character of Chicago’s Greektown

CHICAGO – The changing character of Chicago’s Greektown was featured in the Chicago Tribune as new businesses are coming into the area and some of the oldest Greek-owned businesses have recently closed.

Florida-based meat and fish market Wild Fork Foods is scheduled to open in July at 100 S. Halsted Street in Greektown in a space that was formerly a bank, the Tribune reported.

Meanwhile Greek-owned Santorini restaurant closed in October after 31 years in the area, followed by other long-time Greektown staples Pegasus Restaurant and Taverna, The Parthenon, and Roditys, the Tribune reported.

“It’s incredibly sad to see any business close, and the Santorini closure hit hard,” George Reveliotis, co-owner of the Greek cafe Artopolis and one of the commissioners of Greektown’s special service area, told the Tribune. “We’re going to see continued diversity in the neighborhood, with a very strong Greek element remaining.”

Many factors are causing the area to change, “including rapid growth of neighboring areas including the Fulton Market district, Illinois Medical District and University of Illinois at Chicago campus,” the Trubune reported, adding that “soaring property values have made it difficult for property owners to turn down offers from developers looking to replace low-rise restaurants with residential towers.”

Non-Greek businesses have also recently opened, such as “Chinese restaurant Xi’an Cuisine and Japanese restaurant Aodake Ramen, both on Jackson Boulevard,” the Tribune reported, noting that “Rye Deli + Drink, a Jewish deli, opened a few months ago in the Crowne Plaza Chicago hotel on Halsted.”

Reveliotis told the Tribune that the new businesses are “welcome additions that will help serve the area’s growing population of residents, students and medical workers.”

“It is called Greektown, but everyone is welcome to contribute to the neighborhood,” Reveliotis said, the Tribune reported. “But it is important for a large Greek component to remain in the area… We do hope that more young Greek entrepreneurs come and invest in the area.”

Artopolis owners Andre Papantoniou and Reveliotis bought the cafe in 2019 and “plan a $500,000 renovation to their space later this year,” the Tribune reported, adding that “the makeover will include menu changes to appeal to more customers,” and “the owners are set to travel to several areas of Greece to make note of contemporary restaurant trends.”

“As modern Americans, we can’t live in nostalgia, we have to keep moving forward,” Reveliotis told the Tribune.

Source: Thenationalherald.com

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