CHICAGO – Louie Alexakis, a well-known Greek-American owner and chef at Avli Taverna in Lincoln Park, stopped by Chicago’s “WGN Radio – 720 AM” and shared his thoughts about Greek cuisine’s popularity in Illinois’ largest city and about the secret to his new restaurant’s success.
Journalist Jane Monzures welcomed Mr. Alexakis to the studio and called Alexakis, an “ambassador of Greek culture and the history of gastronomy.” They then joked about Lou Canellis, who is an investor in the restaurant. “Masticha is his favorite drink at the moment,” Alexakis said, referring to the famous Greek-American sportswriter of “Fox Chicago,” and after explaining how masticha originates from the island of Chios, he said it is one of the secret ingredients that he uses not just for drinks but also in desserts. Alexakis added that a property of masticha is that serves as a “digestive.”
“First of all, horiatiki salata is the most famous salad in the world,” Alexakis said when asked why so many people love Greek food. “People love Greek food because it reminds them of the hospitality and friendship we, as Greeks, provide to all. Even if you go to famous Greek restaurants in Chicago, which are wonderful, the most important thing is how you welcome someone when they enter your restaurant. We strive to maintain the same level of comfort, intimacy and hospitality,” he added.
Alexakis confessed that one of the things that makes Avli Taverna, as was written in TNH a few months ago, is that it uses domestic meat for the preparation of the gyro spit, while revealing that he imported products from Greece.