It’s All Greek to Me founder still cooking
Nick Sakkalis refuses to leave the kitchen.
The founder of It’s All Greek to Me is preparing to apply his culinary skills at a new Greek-themed restaurant at 4617 Gaetz Ave. in Red Deer — the former premises of Dino’s Family Restaurant.
Sakkalis will be head chef at Amphora, which will be owned by his daughter Katerina and her business partner Azmina Manji. It’s expected to open by the middle of next week.
“If I put my feet up and slow down, I’m going to go six feet down,” said Sakkalis, who is 65. “I’ve got lots of time for that.”
After learning to cook in his native Greece, Sakkalis came to Canada and in 1996 opened It’s All Greek to Me at 4746 Ross St. When a fire destroyed its building in 2000, he relocated the restaurant to its current location at 3710 Gaetz Ave.
Sakkalis sold It’s All Greek to Me in 2009, and the following year opened Mythos — which offers take-out and catering service — at 188 Northey Ave. He sold it last year.
Sakkalis said he wants to return to a restaurant setting where people congregate and have a good time.
“You stay home, what are you going to do?” he said of his aversion to retirement.
Amphora will be open seven days a week, with its hours 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday. The Sunday hours are still to be determined.
A lunch menu will include a variety of western dishes, including sandwiches, burgers, pastas and salads. The evening menu will consist of Greek cuisine, including a variety of appetizers.
“You don’t have to come for a full meal,” said Sakkalis.
Ouzo drinks, Greek wines and retsina will be among the beverages available.
Belly dancers will perform Fridays and Saturdays, and other cultural activities are also planned.
Dino’s, which operated at the site for 28 years, relocated to 3121 49th Ave. late last month.
It now operates as Dino’s Take-out, offering delivery and take-out service.
Manji said Amphora’s location should be good, with easy access and plenty of parking for vehicles. It’s also close enough to the downtown core to attract the lunchtime crowd.
The restaurant will also offer catering services, said Sakkalis.
Amphora is already drawing interest, she noted, especially since its sign went up a week ago.
“Everybody’s coming to the door and we’re not even ready.”
No one is more enthused than Sakkalis.
“I’m always excited. Me, I’ve never stopped being in the kitchen.”
The restaurant has space for about 100, with seating for 20 more in the lounge. The interior has undergone cosmetic changes, and new equipment has been installed in the kitchen.
The word Amphora refers to a large vase-like container that was used in ancient Greece to carry beverages and other materials.