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