Chef Ilias Pappas brings authentic Greek cuisine to the Barn at the Summit at Fritz Farm.
Five years ago, the Lexington community discovered a love for Greek gourmet served up by chef Ilias Pappas when he opened the Athenian Grill food truck. Ilias launched his traveling business in a similar fashion to all of his neighbors at The Barn at Fritz Farm and sold authentic Greek food to Lexingtonians at many popular local events, originally introducing the concept at West Sixth Brewery.
After a few years, Ilias turned the mobile concept of Athenian Grill into a small sit-down restaurant, later opening an additional larger location. Today, there are two Athenian Grill eateries in Lexington, plus fans of the authentic Greek street food can visit Kroger’s across the state of Kentucky and even stores in Indiana to purchase hummus, tzatziki dip and other culinary favorites to enjoy from the comfort of home.
Additionally, in September, visitors to The Summit at Fritz Farm are going to be delighted to savor that same authentic Greek cuisine as Ilias settles into the stellar lineup of stalls with two (yes, two) concepts at the popular retail destination’s food hall – the first in the state of Kentucky.
Athenian Grill will continue serving up the delicious Greek menu that the community is accustomed to while its sister stall, The Deli, will deliver a new dining option for consumers. As a lover of travel, Ilias is excited to promote various customary eats from around the world through a wide array of sandwiches at The Deli.
The Summit at Fritz Farm has quickly become a foodie destination in Lexington and Ilias believes that “The Barn at Fritz Farm is going to kick that up a few notches.”
Authentic Greek cuisine runs in his blood. Ilias, 37, grew up in Greece, watching his mother roast lamb on an open fire, and his grandmother bake bread in the family’s clay oven.
He came to the U.S. in 1998 to study hospitality management at the University of Kentucky, adding another ingredient – along with his family’s culinary culture – to his recipe for success.
He admits that getting his locations off the ground brought many challenges as with any entrepreneurial pursuit, yet realizes that the success of his business far outweighs those obstacles. He understands the cultural importance of food and believes there is no better way to explain who you are than through cuisine.
After building a growing business, the Athenian Grill’s location at The Barn at Fritz Farm represents a sort of return to his food truck origins for Ilias.
“One of the beautiful things about The Barn and food halls in general is that they are taking street fare and bringing it indoors to a friendly, community gathering place.”
– Ilias Pappas
Each stall is a cozy 600-square-foot space that will provide the opportunity for close interaction with customers, creating a genuine Greek experience from start to finish. Ilias is excited to continue sharing his rich culture with Lexington and extremely passionate about introducing his roots to newbies visiting The Summit at Fritz Farm.
Athenian Grill partners with local farms and businesses, a running theme for each of the operators within the food hall, to bring fresh, authentic Greek food to Lexington. The Athenian Grill team is dedicated to serving up quality food that will continue to keep the community craving more.