Ex Greek Naval Officer Dimitri Tzorilis is bringing a taste of his homeland to Foregate St in the city which he describes as his “second home” . The Tokoutouki Taverna at number 112 in the former Woody’s unit is now open for business.
Dimitri’s wife is from Chester and they moved to the UK over 4 years ago for family reasons. Prior to that he lived in Athens for over 20 years, and the couple are now based in Hope, just over the border. “We used to visit here 5 or 6 times a year, now we do the other way around!” he says.
His dream has always been to open a Taverna , without compromising on quality or authenticity. He says that a Taverna is different from a restaurant in that it is more informa with a more relaxed atmosphere. The Taverna, which is the only Greek restaurant in the city aims to show people the “original tastes of Greece”. With space for 50 diners, the refurbishment includes authentic imported Greek furniture and a new staircase up to the second floor bar/dining area. He says that his business plan has been in progress for a year and a half, and this site was the fourth potential home for his new business. Although he has found the bureauracy of the system a challenge, he praised the council for their support and is looking forward to welcoming new friends to the Taverna.
The menu says Dimitri is “simple but original” He says that “every Greek restaurant has halloumi, theres no halloumi here. Why ? Its not Greek!” From his 26 years in the navy, specialising in accounts and food supplies, he knows how to source quality products and food will be freshly cooked , with meat being supplied by a nearby Welsh farm.
Of the Foregate St location, Dimitri is full of enthusiasm and he praise the friendly nature of the Chester people .”This street , has the vibe! I feel it!” he enthuses.
“Every Christmas for the last 25 years when we were visiting I used to always come to see the Christmas market. The spirit of this city fascinates me. On Christmas Eve I would be sitting outside marks and Spencer on a bench, having a coffee, watching the people go by . . I tried to put a lot of love into the place and I want people to feel like they’re on holiday, with that atmosphere hitting them.”
Finally, will there be any plate smashing ?”Health and safety!” laughs Dimitri