New Upscale Greek Restaurant Opens in Mississauga
If walking into the newly opened—and very newly renovated and rejuvenated—Athan's Kitchen feels somehow familiar, it's probably because the opening is somewhat similar to the return of an old friend (even that old friend has had a major facelift).
The Lakeshore and Lorne Park Road restaurant recently re-opened as Athan's Kitchen after the space laid vacant for a number of years. Prior to the opening, the spacious resto was home to Labry's Fine Cuisine Restaurant, a neighbourhood staple that closed some time ago.
"I had this place here, but I was working on other businesses in the meantime and when it was Labry's, my father was running the kitchen and he was the chef. My father has passed away and we eventually decided to close," explains Athan's Kitchen owner, Athan (who asked that we just call him Athan). "I kept it closed while I worked [on other projects]. I make olive oil and I have my own olive groves in Crete, and I still do it now."
While Athan occupied his time with other ventures, he held onto the space that had been in his family for years.
Eventually, when the time was right, he threw himself back into the restaurant world and is introducing his new concept to the neighbourhood gradually.
It's open now, but it's a soft opening," he explains. "Right now, I'm open from Wednesday to Saturday, evenings only. We will be opening Mondays and whole days in the future, probably by the beginning of the New Year."
The reinvigorated restaurant is both elegant and colourful. The spacious, open concept establishment boasts a neutral, earthy colour palette augmented by a modern water feature, mosaic tiling and chic, ultra-contemporary murano glass light fixtures from Montreal.
In terms of the menu, it's full of Greek and North American offerings and is set to undergo some changes in the new year.
"Now I'm back at it and I want to do something different. I named it 'Kitchen' because I want everything to be nice and fresh, nothing pre-frozen. If you look at the menu, you'll notice it has Greek and American cuisine. All the people love what we're doing, but they want more Greek, and that's the next menu I'm about to put out. The menu I'll put out at the beginning of the year will be 100 per cent greek. More seafood and lamb."
The current menu offers authentic Greek salad ($15), grilled calamari ($16), Greek poutine with home cut fries, mozzarella, crumbled feta and beef gravy ($10), classic Greek makaronada ($20) and more. It even offers Rocket Burgers (Athan's family operated a Rocket restaurant in 70s, 80 and 90s before transforming it into Labry's later on).
Although the restaurant is set to introduce a new menu and is currently only operating at select hours, the response to the soft opening has been positive.
"I think most people were really excited because the place had been vacant for a long time, so I think most people in the area were excited. We started renos back in late June and at that time, there were numerous people coming up and inquiring. I think most people are happy it's open again," he says.
Athan also hopes to continuing curating a unique but affordable wine list.
"Right now, I'm working on my wine list. Right now, I'm featuring some Italian wines and there are about four or five nice vintage Greek wines on the menu. That will change every day. I'm bringing more stuff in. My wine philosophy is I want to keep my [bottles of] wine at a price point that's fair, under the $80 mark. I want nice quality wines from Greece, Italy, California and Canada, but I want them to be affordable. A couple will come in and have a nice meal with a good quality wine and it'll be reasonable."
Athan is also interesting in potentially bottling and selling his rich and delicious olive oil.
"Greek cuisine is health-oriented," he explains. "All my cooking is done with my own olive oil that I import, it's my own production. Eventually, I'm planning on introducing my own Greek olive oil to customers for purchase."
Athan also plans to introduce Greek nights after the resto's 2017 grand opening. Ideally, the nights will boast a set menu and live musical performances.
"It'll probably happen on the weekend and we'll have about 60 people coming in and making a night out of it. We'll have nice leg of lamb roast and other food that might not be available on the regular menu. I called the restaurant 'Kitchen' because of that. It'll be like going to your mom's kitchen."
Athan is also planning to introduce a lunch and takeout menu in the new year.
The grand opening is slated for some time in January.
Seats: 60 People
Was Once: Labry's
Type: Dine-in (with takeout options TBA)