Those are the Greek words for bon appetit, and it could also be the slogan for the Church of the Annunciation’s third annual Greek Food Fest that will make its way into the Mihailides Center’s Demetrakas Hall this weekend.
And if the two previous Greek Food Fests offer any measuring stick, Rhode Islanders will pour into the Greek Orthodox parish at 175 Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston to enjoy many Greek dishes.
The third annual Greek Food Fest will open Saturday, April 28 at 11 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m. The hours on Sunday, April 29 are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We welcome everyone and anyone to come and enjoy our traditional menu,” said Theofanis “Frank” Markos, who chairs the Parish Council. “We will have our famous gyros, pork souvlaki, lamb dishes and of course Greek pastries.”
“Of course, it wouldn’t be a food event here without baklava,” he added.
The two-day food fest will also offer sundaes, Greek coffee and Greek wine. Admission is free and there’s plenty of parking on the church’s grounds. There’s also ample seating inside the Mihailides Center that’s named in memory of the late Rev. Peter Mihailides who moved the Greek Orthodox parish from Providence to Cranston more than four decades ago.
Like the Greek Orthodox parish, the Greek Food Fest has a unique story of how it came into being.
Back in 2009, a hurricane was forecast for the same weekend as the original September festival. Safety officials issued a major storm alert and cautioned area organizations to prepare for the worst.
High winds and torrential rain washed out scheduled events throughout the state and the Cranston Greek Festival lost an entire weekend of revenue.
There was talk about possibly doing a second food festival, but planning for the annual Cranston Greek Festival requires year-round planning and Annunciation Church officials weren’t about to tinker with that event’s success or tradition. Others, though, proposed a smaller event for May.
Thus, the volunteers decided to give it a go and the first event turned out to be an overwhelming success.
In addition to lunch and dinner specials, the Greek Pastry Shoppe will include plenty of Greek desserts.
“We’ve been getting lost of inquiries about our rizogalo,” Markos said, describing his grandmother’s Greek version of traditional rice pudding topped with cinnamon.
All of these items and many more will be available at the 2012 Cranston Greek Festival from Sept. 7 to 9.
“Until then, though, we invited all our friends to come out and enjoy our traditional menu,” Markos said. “And for dessert, I recommend a Baklava Sundae.”