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General News

Dino’s Greek Food Truck Finds Permanent Home in Petaluma

PETALUMA, CA – Dino’s Greek Food Truck was featured in the Argus Courier (AC) on March 2, as “Sonoma County’s only all-Greek ‘restaurant’” which “now calls The Block – Petaluma its permanent home.”

Owner Konstandinos “Dino” Moniodis focuses on “the authentic flavors he has always enjoyed while staying and working alongside his father’s family on the Greek island of Chios,” AC reported.

“Dino’s father, Dimitri Moniodis, grew up in Greece, where he earned the nickname ‘Zimi’ (‘dough’ in Greek), because at a very young age, he worked in the village bakery,” AC reported, adding that “in his mid-teens, he joined the merchant marines and eventually ended up in Santa Cruz, CA, where Dino was born. When Dino was 6 years old, Dimitri moved the family to Santa Rosa, where Dino would go on to graduate from Montgomery High before attending culinary school.”

Summers were spent in Greece, according to AC. “Dad was from a village called Lithi, on the island of Chios,” Dino Moniodis told AC,

The business logo “is even the outline of the island of Chios,” AC reported.

“Partway through the summer I would always run out of money,” Moniodis said, AC reported. “When I was old enough, my dad suggested that I work at one of my many cousins’ many tavernas, which are the small family-run restaurants you find throughout Greece’s villages.”

“I always loved the food, but working in the tavernas alongside family, serving the locals, gave me so much more of an appreciation for what goes into making good, clean, healthy food,” he told AC.

“Back in the U.S., Dino attended the Santa Rosa Junior College culinary program, where he made a lot of local connections and added some additionally culinary techniques and skills to his strong Greek foundation,” AC reported, adding that Moniodis “moved on to work catering for Stark’s Steak & Seafood before joining the kitchen of sister restaurant Willie’s Wine Bar for three years. He also helped convert Equus into a steakhouse, well before it, along with its host Fountain Grove Inn, burned to the ground in the 2017 Tubbs fire.”

The family “stayed connected to their Greek traditions with weekly visits to Papa’s Taverna, a local Petaluma favorite out at Gilardi’s Marina on Lakeville Highway, until it shut down in late 2012,” AC reported.

“We used to go every Friday night to enjoy the food, the music and the dancing,” Moniodis told AC. “That was the closest thing to our tavernas in Greece and really helped to strengthen my love of Greek food and culture here in the U.S.”

He “returned to Petaluma to help open Slam Burger, a farm-to-table burger concept that lasted for roughly a year downtown,” AC reported.

“It was a great experience, I learned to open a restaurant from the ground up, and in only three months,” Moniodis told AC.

“After Slam Burger, Dino was the chef at Brannan’s Grill in Calistoga before moving over to their sister restaurant, a pizza joint called Checker’s,” AC reported, adding that “this last stop was key to Dino’s appreciation and understanding of what it takes to create great pizzas.”

About three years ago, Moniodis’ “father was diagnosed with cancer, so he dropped everything to take care of him,” AC reported.

“He was given six months, but made it almost two years,” Moniodis told AC, adding that “the week he passed, I started Dino’s Greek Food Truck. I had been talking about a food truck for six or seven years, but dad’s sickness inspired me. I wanted him to see it happen.”

“That was in the summer of 2019 and even through the pandemic, Dino’s has been carrying on Dimitri’s legacy and gaining fans wherever the food truck parks,” AC reported.

“It was a lot of trial and error,” Moniodis told AC. “There were some days when I only had two or three orders.”

“Sonoma County is not particularly friendly to food trucks, but Dino finally found his niche when he started making the local brewery rounds,” AC reported.

“That was more my clientele. Relaxing with good drinks and good food is what Greek street food is all about,” he told AC.

“Petalumans were certainly excited when Dino’s Greek Food Truck started making regular Saturday appearances at the Block – Petaluma last year and have been raving about his food ever since,” AC reported, adding that “due to the positive response from diners, Dino’s is now a permanent fixture at the Block and Dino is even expanding to take over the wood-fired pizza restaurant that was always there, but had yet to reach its full potential.”

The revamped pizza place will relaunch under the name “Zimi’s Pizza, which they hope to open in April,” AC reported.

“Helping to run the front of house at both operations is Sarah Kenney, Dino’s fiancé and business partner,” AC reported, noting that “the two met through a mutual love of Greek food.”

“She showed up one day at the truck and ordered several dishes,” Moniodis told AC. “When I saw her enjoying them all while sitting on the tailgate of her truck, I knew I had to ask her out. We have been partners ever since.”

“The biggest thing we want to do is give people a real Greek experience,” he said, AC reported.

According to Dino’s website, “I am driven by the idea of Philoxenia which is the art of making a stranger a friend. This idea drives my efforts to make food fit for the gods with the loving embrace and hospitality of a traditional Greek home.”

He told AC, “Now that we are up and running, we are trying to work with a local supplier to get more Greek things, like real Greek sodas.”

For Greek Easter, Moniodis told AC, “We’ll be cooking up Greek goodies, and doing Greek Easter giveaways.”

Dino’s Greek Food Truck at the Block – Petaluma, 20 Grey Street is open Thursdays and Fridays for dinner, Saturdays for lunch and dinner, and Sundays for lunch.

More information is available online: dinosgreekfood.com.

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