Here’s proof you just can’t beat a Greek grandmother’s cooking: Despina Mangafakis’ YiaYia’s Greek Kitchen in Ridgeland, Mississippi received the 2022 Gold Award for Authentic Greek Cuisine by the International Organization Greek Taste Beyond Borders.
It was selected, said Madison Country Journal because of her use of traditional and local recipes using pure Greek products, which any Greek cook knows is just the only way to do it.
Mangafakis, her husband Stefano, and their daughter Chris have run the restaurant since 2017, bringing with them the cuisine of her family from Rhodes – first to Connecticut in 1973 – before moving to Mississippi where their son lived.
Mangafakis has operated Greek restaurants with her five brothers who are in the business and they have a simple secret for success.
“I’ve seen people go out to eat, and if the quality isn’t there in the food, they’ll know. The people are another reason I stay here,” she said. “Everyone is so kind. I’ve seen couples come in here on dates and now they’re married with kids. I see people praying and thanking God for their food before they eat.”