Deli Cum Eatery
I surrender; it’s true; Evripidou Street is the sin of my life. Just a few steps away from where I live, Evripidou is the place where I go to buy basic supplies but mostly, where I go to shake off the stress and lose myself in its smells and colorful images. I often complained that the one think missing there was a place serving raki with meze attached.
I was in luck! Fanis Theodoropoulos, a young creative man with a disarming smile, who is now at the helm of Arapian house, continuing the family tradition, together with Paraskevas Sarimpogias, the most dynamic producer of processed meat in East Macedonia, made my dream come true. Indeed, in the spring of 2014, on the corner of Sokratous and Evripidou Streets, at the basement of the building which was formerly occupied by a grocery store and until quite recently by “Petrino” restaurant, under the old brothel, closed by now, Fanis and Paraskevas opened the haunt of Fanis or otherwise called “Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani”, a delicatessen and a mezedopoleio (a meze restaurant, meze stands for Greek appetizers) at the same time. In this deli, you’ll find anything your heart desires (cold cuts, dairy produce from thousands of small artisan producers); all you need to do, is simply name it. And it gets better; in the meze restaurant, you are free to taste anything you like either from the deli’s counter or the menu.
The deli mainly sells “karamanlidika” cold cuts (delicious sujuk prepared with artistry and devotion, pastrami, several kinds of ham, kavourma, salami coated with various characteristic ingredients, mortadella etc.) produced by Paraskevas Sarimpogias.
Going over the history of his home country, Paraskevas says that Ottoman Turks used to call the regions of Cappadocia and Cilikia, Karamania (pronounced Karamanía). Thus, back then, the region was known as the Province of Karaman (pronounced Karamán). Its Muslim residents were called Karamanides (pronounced Karamanídes) and the Turkish speaking Greek-Orthodox Christians, Karamanlides (pronounced Karamanlídes). Living at the centre of a trade network established between Persia, Middle East and Europe, residents introduced the famous “paston” (food sprinkled with salt) – of Ionian origin- to the Romans and “akropaston”, i.e. pastourma, a delicacy that the inhabitants of the Byzantine Empire used to eat, to the Ottoman Turks.
Inspired by tradition, Paraskevas Sarimpogias, who comes from the regions of Asia Minor that Greek-Orthodox Christians left for good during the exchange of populations in 1922, had one wish: to revive the Byzantine pastomageireio, a cooking house cum shop selling salted goods.
The menu of “Ta karamanlidika tou Fani” is extensive and populated with countless mezedes, making the final decision on what to order such a difficult thing to do. All dishes are delicious and here’s why: Fanis has put all the experience he has gained working in the Central Market while the award-winning cold cuts produced by “Sary” factory are surely the best raw material to use.
Be ware; some mezedes are just spicy and others just too hot to handle! Don’t miss out on the exquisite refreshing combinations with yogurt. As a last note, the personnel is most polite, well-trained and always there to help with a smile on their face.