Greek Restaurants’ Influence on Alabama City Caught in Film Philoxenia

Filmmaker Jessica Chrieseman knew right away when she decided to make a documentary about restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama that she'd go to those which changed the foodscape and were beloved: Greek eateries. It's called Philoxenia.

She was asked by the Southern Foodways Alliance to create a film for their 2021 Spring Symposium and told Southern Living that, “I immediately thought of the Greek restaurateurs who have fed Birmingham since its infancy.”

She wanted to know too why Greek immigrants took the chance to come to a country where they didn't speak the language and were often starting from the floor up, guided by their guts – and cooking skills and Greek food. She wanted to know how they could blend into a region with its own inimitable foods.

The film includes people and places like Beba and Tasos Touloupis, owners of Ted's Restaurant which serves southern dishes along with Greek; Demetri Nakos of Demetri's BBQ in suburban Homewood; Johnny's Restaurant, owned by Tom Hontzas – four times nominated for Best Chef South; Lee Pantazis' Gus' Hot dogs; The Bright Star in Bessemer, and George Sarris' The Fish Market.


Since 1821, Americans have been singing about Greeks.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.


Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.