When you think of food in Texas it’s barbeque most likely to come to mind but that’s unless you’ve eaten at Athena’s in Houston, which Maria Steanakis and Aris Varoutsos opened in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
It became a favorite haunt in its neighborhood and is drawing regulars, noted ABC7 TV in a report on its popularity, largely due to Maria’s marching around and making sure the diners are happy.
“My recipes are my grandmom’s,” said Stefanakis. “If I cook, especially my spanakopita, I feel for my grandmom. I’m very proud because I came to the United States almost speaking no English, and now I own my own business. I love this country because it’s made me a success.”
Varoutsos said the food brings them. “People who have been to Greece, they say, Mr. Ari, this is better than Greece!”
Stefankis dreamed of opening a Greek restaurant when she came to the United States in 1974 and worked in restaurants – including a barbeque spot – before she got her chance, serving dishes she grew up cooking with her mom and Yiayia.