Καφενείο - καπηλειό Σαρανταυγά στο Ηράκλειο
Located in the heart of the commercial street of Heraklion, in Crete, “Sarantavga”, a kafeneio and an eatery selling alcohol, open since 1924, is the cradle of the city’s socializing scene.
In this small-sized narrow kafeneio (traditional café) with only four tables inside and another four outside spilling onto the sidewalk, the entire history of the city of Heraklion unfolds before your eyes as the walls adorned with texts of Manolis Rassoulis – famous Herakliot writer, singer, composer and journalist-, old Greek movies posters and photos of Herakliots during merry-making in the kafeneio, hark back to a magical bygone era that we all cherish so much. Right above an oven, a scarf of the famous football team of Heraklion, OFI, covers the wall-mounted tv set; the scarf is removed however whenever a football game is on for the groups of male friends gathered in the kafeneio to watch it. The mezedes offered here are more than delicious. What is really special though is the convivial ambiance in this kafeneio where sooner or later everyone sitting on the tables becomes one big party of friends. It is as simple as that; this is how Greek people live!
“My grandfather, Giorgos Stathakis, opened this kafeneio when he returned to Greece from Smyrna, where he served in the Gendarmerie, after the Asia Minor Catastrophe. My father took over the helms of the kafeneio next and in 1996, it was my turn. Now, the story of how the kafeneio got to be named “Sarantavgas” (literally, the one with 40 eggs) is old and has to do with my grandfather. When he was a young boy, my grandfather used to accompany his father, who was a priest, when he visited the houses to bless them with holy water. My grandfather used to be very fond of eggs. One day when a woman from the neighborhood wanted to offer my grandfather a couple of eggs, papa-Giannis (papa is a Greek orthodox priest) rose up in revolt and said: “Please, spare him! He has eaten 40 eggs already…”. That was it! This is how my father got his nick-name. The area of Grousouzadika (literally, the area that casts a bad spell on people) housed about thirty such hunts offering an experience like a throw back to a bygone era. Currently, our kafeneio is the only one that has survived. It’s really different from all the other newcomers that have popped up in the recent years. Our habitués, working class people, people working in the market, doctors, lawyers, men-women, as soon as they step in, they forget all about their troubles, they become one big group of friends, drinking, teasing and cracking jokes on each other, singing”.
The devotees in this kafeneio are just like the members of an orchestra; however, the members of this orchestra change every day; one thing stays the same though; the orchestra plays always under the same conductor, Giorgos Stathakis, the third generation of Sarantavgas.
- Address1866 Street, Heraklion, Crete
- CategoryTraditional Cafés