BE­YOND THE KE­BAB

‘ FOOD WITH HON­ESTY’ IS THE MANTRA OF ZEUS STREET GREEK, AS CO-FOUNDER COSTA ANASTASIADIS TELLS MEN’S STYLE.

Men's Style (Australia) - - Priority Male -

Since open­ing their first Zeus Street Greek eatery in Syd­ney’s sub­ur­ban Drum­moyne in July 2014, Costa Anastasiadis and Ge­orge Kypran­iou have now opened 15 stores with two more on the way in their quest to bring Hel­lenic street food into the 21st cen­tury.

Both had ex­ten­sive food back­grounds be­fore em­bark­ing on Zeus Street Greek, Anastasiadis as the founder of Crust Pizza (and a for­mer Men’s Style Man Of In­flu­ence) and Kypri­anou with Pony Din­ing Group. But it was a fer­vent de­sire to progress ‘fast’ Greek cui­sine be­hind the long-es­tab­lished – and much loved - gyro (or ke­bab) which mo­ti­vated their found­ing of Zeus Street Greek.

“For us there al­ways been a mis­con­cep­tion [about Greek food] since the first wave of mi­grants to Aus­tralia and we want to chal­lenge that per­cep­tion,” Anastasiadis tells Men’s Style. “We want to move peo­ple away from the idea of Greek food as part of a greasy han­gover…

“In­stead we want to be con­sid­ered a healthy meal in­spired by Mediter­ranean flavours and we feel we’re do­ing that well. As with any eth­nic food of­fer­ing there’s al­ways a pe­riod of ed­u­ca­tion but it’s been a fan­tas­tic three years, as ev­i­denced by how many stores we’ve opened.”

Grow­ing re­search on the health ben­e­fits of a ‘Mediter­ranean’ diet, in­clud­ing a 60 Min­utes re­port on a Greek Island in­hab­ited by fa­mously long-liv­ing res­i­dents, have been an added boon for the fresh yet ca­sual ap­proach found in­side a Zeus Street Greek. “All of our pro­duce is fresh and lo­cally sourced,” says Anastasiadis, “it’s just given a Hel­lenic spin.”

Lo­cated in a high traf­fic flow ar­eas and aimed mainly at a younger, time­poor de­mo­graphic, the stores have an ap­proach­able, un­fussy am­bi­ence – the de­sign tweaked to match the ur­ban sur­rounds - with counter or­der­ing and pick-up and em­pha­sis on shar­ing plates and a com­mu­nal vibe.

“This is a great mar­ket to test the con­cept in be­cause Aus­tralians are very en­thu­si­as­tic about the cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence in­volved,” ob­serves Anastasiadis. “I’ve trav­elled all around the world and I know that Aus­tralians are right up there as hav­ing one of the most di­verse palates in the world be­cause of the var­i­ous cul­tural in­flu­ences.”

Pita wraps ac­count for about 50 per cent of Zeus Street Greek’s sales, says Anastasiadis. “It gives us a great chance to show­case tra­di­tional of­fer­ings and the sort of food you can find in the back streets of Athens; to show our range and play with some very cool flavours…”

In the war on the mod­ern worker’s ‘el­desko din­ing’ habit, Zeus Street’s ‘Spar­tan Box’ has been the most re­cent and suc­cess­ful menu ad­di­tion, al­low­ing the rav­en­ous to create up to 320 com­bi­na­tions in four steps by choos­ing from five pro­teins (lamb, haloumi, chicken, pork, falafel), four bases (or­ganic 10 grains, salad, pi­laf, pita bread), four sal­ads and four dips. It’s a per­fect demon­stra­tion of the brand’s key mes­sages on healthy Mediter­ranean eat­ing and cus­tomis­able meals.

“Our ex­pe­ri­ence so far has made us very con­scious about know­ing what peo­ple want,” says Anastasiadis. “Trans­parency is very im­por­tant in how we con­struct the menu of­fer­ing which is why we talk a lot about ‘food hon­esty’.”

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