by Wedge resident Chadborne Whiting
• 1982: Brothers Alkis and Argyrios Arambadjis (Salonika, GR) and their spouses opened It’s Greek to Me in its current location as a small restaurant specializing in northern-Greek cuisine.
• Over the next few years, they bought neighboring businesses and the building itself, expanding the footprint of the restaurant.
• 1996: The Arambadjis’ sister, Soula Papilidou, joined as co-owner until her return to Greece in 2011.
• 2016: They sold the business to Nicholas and Athena Karos but retained ownership of the building.
• 2019: The Karoses vacated the restaurant, and the previous owners assumed control.
• 2020: It’s Greek to Me reopened with Alkis, his nephew Gelli, and longtime employee Erik Johnson all running the daily services.
What’s up with that cool name?
The name was borrowed with permission from a restaurant near Chicago where the Arambadjis had worked. The new addition to the name, "Taverna E Parea," was recently made to emphasize the importance of joyful dining in good company.
Which dishes are most popular?
Many familiar Greek favorites are always on the menu, and people do order them a lot. Generally, the menu hasn’t changed much in the last 39 years. To keep things interesting while accommodating the unpredictability of supplies, many popular items are featured as daily specials with fresh but limited availability.
Do any recipes have a unique origin?
Patrons will notice that northern Greek food is different from southern because Thessaloniki is a cosmopolitan city. Its history as a crossroad of migration and trade is both ancient and continuous, even today. Ingredients, spices, and cooking techniques make the cuisine more varied than conventionally-known Greek cuisine. While this restaurant offers familiar Greek and Mediterranean favorites, many of the recipes evolved specifically from what the original owners’ mother prepared in their youth.
What are the challenges this restaurant is facing?
• Customers are not driving in from the suburbs as much anymore because of real and perceived crime and unrest.
• Restaurants are inherently unpredictable to plan for, but with recent local events it is exceptionally difficult to plan for expansion or contraction of consumer demand.
• Inflation and lack of delivery truck drivers are driving up the cost of ingredients by at least double.
• Labor costs have gone up. Finding experienced workers has been very difficult.
• Many of the government’s COVID restrictions came with inadequate notice.
Owners: Alkis and Gelli Arambadjis
Manager: Erik Johnson
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: 626 W. Lake St. (NE corner of Lake St. & Lyndale Ave.)
It's Greek To Me owners prepare to hand off restaurant
It's Greek To Me closes
It's Greek To Me is back in business
It's Greek To Me closed after 40 years, now it's back
Please join us to learn about the work the LynLake Business Association and other community-based organizations are doing to help invigorate local businesses in Minneapolis from our guest speaker Morgan Luzier, Co-chair of the Lyn-Lake Minneapolis.
This talk is sponsored by The Jungle Theater and will cover how our whole community — business owners, employees, clients, customers, patrons and residents — can work together to create more connected, inviting and prosperous streets for everyone! RSVP and submit questions for Morgan here.
Join the Talk via Zoom.
The monthly LHENA board meeting will take place next Wednesday, July 21, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. These meetings are open to the public.
This month, the LHENA board will discuss several proposed policies for the organization, including code of conduct, conflict of interest, language access, and more. Additionally, the board will determine whether or not to shift ~$8,000 in funds from a "Explore Historic District" contract into a "Youth Arts Programming" contract. Finally, the board will have a roundtable discussion about the state of affairs regarding public safety in Uptown.
The meeting will be led by LHENA president Eric Ortiz. A .pdf draft agenda is below.
LHENA Board Meeting
Wednesday, July 21
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
On Saturday, June 24th, the neighborhood got a sneak peek at the wonderful food that will be offered by Abi’s Restaurant when it fully opens in late August. The Restaurant Fan Club partnered with Abi’s to put on a fun summer event in her parking lot at 2828 Lyndale that included our first neighborhood fundraising bake sale.
Abi’s is located in the previous home of the Egg and I and will be open for dine-in services in late August. In the meantime, Abi has had her food truck in the parking lot during the day and early evenings. The truck was unavailable for our fun summer event, but Abi didn’t disappoint us. The grills were going and neighbors eagerly ordered soft tacos and pupusas. Abi Baires opened her first Abi’s Restaurant in 2015 on East Lake Street. Cooking has long been a central part of her Salvadoran family, and Abi was inspired by her grandma, mother, and Aunt Maria to become an entrepreneur, bringing Central American food to the Twin Cities. When Abi and her family moved to the United States, her mom was often too busy to cook. The task fell to Abi to keep the tradition of sharing meals alive, and she began cooking every day for her brothers. There were no YouTube videos for Abi to follow, so she became a recipe creator. Still today, Abi is constantly learning in the kitchen, inspired by her cooks, her family, and the community she happily continues to feed. All of the food is made from scratch, inspired by the authentic flavors of El Salvador and Mexico. Her most popular dish is pupusas, a handmade corn tortilla filled with cheese and veggies or meat toppings. The other crowd favorite is a Guanaca combo, which features a sampling of traditional Salvadoran foods: plantain leaf chicken tamale, fried plantain, beans, and pupusa.
Put Abi’s on your calendar for later this summer!
Dine-In Hours: To open in late August
Reserve Food Truck: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 2828 Lyndale Avenue South