Greek to Us: Jody Adams and Partners Open Saloniki in The Fenway
The Fenway has recently added to its culinary diversity by welcoming Saloniki to the neighborhood. Based around the traditional Greek sandwich shop, the new restaurant is a collaborative effort between James Beard award winner, cookbook author, and all-around acclaimed chef Jody Adams of Rialto and partners Jonathan Mendez and Eric Papachristos from Trade.
The new 72-seat, 2,700 square-foot eatery pays tribute to Papachristos’s hometown of Thessaloniki, a city in Northern Greece that Adams claims has the best sandwiches in the country. Open for lunch and dinner, the fast-casual restaurant offers authentic Greek cuisine in a chic setting for both dine-in customers as well as people on the go.
“This is our tribute to the humble Greek sandwich shop,” says Mendez. “One thing you notice if you go to Greece—whether Athens, the islands or anywhere in the country—there are these sandwich shops on every corner, thousands and thousands of them. Saloniki is our homage to that—an attempt to bring a Greek kitchen to the American market in a way that makes sense, while keeping the flavors very authentic.”
The menu at Saloniki offers several build-your-own options along with four Classics, created by Adams with inspiration from Papachristos’s family. “We wanted to have a handful of main events including vegetarian options and a bunch of sauces,” Adams notes. “We started with some very traditional Greek sandwich sauces like tzatziki and whipped feta, but we added things like charred eggplant and roasted red pepper sesame sauce. Then it occurs to John that people really like to walk up to a window and say ‘I’ll take the Herc’ or ‘I’ll take the Niko.’ We called upon Eric’s family to help us put together a bunch of sandwiches that they would choose, plus we have build-your-own plate, pita and salad options.”
Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saloniki offers the same menu for lunch, dinner and those strange hours in between when no one seems to be open. “The design of the restaurant is one that is appealing to people any time of day,” says Adams. “Whether you’re headed to the ballgame or on the way to the theater, you can have a sandwich to go or eat it here with a beer or glass of wine.”
With Papachristos’s Greek heritage and the trio’s deep appreciation for Greek culture, authenticity and acceptance is extremely important to the whole crew. “They had a dream to open this restaurant and invited me to participate and create the menu,” says Adams. “It was thrilling for me because I’ve never opened a fast-casual restaurant before. It’s an exciting time for the business and an exciting place for me. During friends and family, we already had 200 people in here standing in line for sandwiches, and Eric’s Greek family confirmed that the flavors taste like home, so we have a lot of confidence going into this.”
With such a well-known and accomplished triumvirate of owners on hand, The Fenway is happy to welcome such a fresh new concept to the area. “I’ve lived in the city for 22 years,” notes Papachristos. “I’ve really seen the city change overall and watched each individual neighborhood develop. What we loved about The Fenway is that it’s such an interesting cross-section of the city that is developing very quickly. There isn’t a neighborhood out there as dynamic as The Fenway right now.”
When asked about their favorite neighbors and new go-tos Adams says, “Tiger Mama is really fun and exciting and, of course, Sweet Cheeks. The Yard House right next door have been extremely hospitable and welcoming. Tasty Burger is great and a friend of ours. And Hojoko…—oh and of course Target!”