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Restaurants-meze bars-grocery stores: The new trend in Athens!

The places with a double identity where you can have a meal and also shop select products for the house are steadily growing in numbers. A kitchen on the one side, shelves and refrigerators on the other side. You can sit at their tables to eat and just before you go (probably inspired by what you tasted or from the menu) you can fill your basket with goodies to take home. Pasta, rice, jars of sauces, fruit preserves, rusks, and nuts are among the products that one can buy, many of which make a career also abroad. Ergon has a product brand of its own and has expanded to London, Brussels, and Miami. A short while ago, they opened their second store in Athens (26, Mitropoleos Str., Syntagma). Last year, the Kostarelos dairy (that dates back to 1937) opened a branch in the district of Kolonaki (34, Patriarchou Ioakim Str.) that sets its tables for coffee or a drink and nibbling, with a modern grid made with feta cheese barrels in the background. Passing from the cheeses to the cured meats, we find the “Karamanlidika tou Fani” in downtown Athens, at the junction of Sokratous and Evripidou streets. Pastirma – from camel, beef or sheep’s meat – sujuk, sausages, and pastrami plus cheeses from all over Greece take centre stage in a place where the refrigerators-showcases are full of delicacies and the taverna’s list is impressive. Last but not least, a few days ago the delicatessen e-shop opened the impressive Yoleni’s Flagship Concept Store at number 9 of Solonos Street. It is a modern multi-purpose space that reminds of Athens’ grocery stores of the ’50s and the ’60s. The numbers speak for themselves: 2,000 Greek products (from 180 producers), 230 labels of Greek wine, 20 microbrewery labels and a place for light meals from a carefully compiled list.