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