“We’ve got a great following … so we’re strong enough now for bricks and mortar,” says George Karanikos, owner of Greek Street Food.
It began as a food truck three and a half years ago. You may have seen it around Melbourne at the Collins Street Food Truck Park, Queen Victoria Market and Welcome to Thornbury. (There are plans for a second food truck to join the fleet in summer.)
“If you’re around good people it’s going to work, and there’s a great sense of community and growth here, which we wanted to be a part of,” says Karanikos. The restaurant is located on High Street opposite Carwyn Cellars and a few doors down from Pallino Bar and Bocce.
The concept of growth is meaningful to Karanikos, beyond sales and customer base.
“I have a tendency of employing young kids because I like to give them a go. It’s not just a job for them – it’s an educational grounding where we train them through all aspects of the business,” says Karanikos, who refers to his staff as his kids.
His actual kids also help with the business: his daughter runs front of house and his son manages social media. His wife, Flora, also works in the kitchen.
The souvas here are of the Kalamaki variety, so leaner meat fillets, which are marinated, skewered and grilled.
Both the restaurant and food truck menus are the same, and so are the prices. In time, new dishes will be added to the restaurant menu.
The biggest benefits of the food-truck model are freedom and mobility, so choosing a permanent address was a big commitment for Karanikos. It took the family 18 months to settle on the High Street site.
Alex Lake of Therefore Studio designed the interior, which has exposed-brick walls, slender modern light fixtures, and subtle hints of Greece in rendered white partitions reminiscent of Santorini architecture.
“I wanted the truck and street feel to flow to the restaurant, so the vibe here is very casual and kids can run freely,” says Karanikos.
Greek Street Food
794 High Street, Thornbury
(03) 9484 9478
Sun to Thu 11.30am–9pm
Fri & Sat 11.30am–9.30pm