Opa! Take a listen to this. Sorry you can’t smell the delicious aroma of the baklava, spanakopita, souvlaki or lamb. (you don’t eat no meat? Okay, I cook you lamb.) Just a little My Big Fat Greek Wedding humor, folks. I was not on the island of Santorini. I was on The Danforth with my sisters for a girls day out. Every year on the second weekend of August, in the east end of the city named Danforth Avenue ( AKA little Greektown), the city blocks off traffic on a large stretch of the avenue and restaurants offer samples from their menu for the annual Taste of the Danforth street festival. There is also music, dance and art showcased with food, food and more food.
Anytime I visit The Danforth, I get a sense of nostalgia. I grew up in this area so it’s always nice to come back home. Back then, The Danforth was predominantly Greek in population, where simple, family owned Greek diners lined the streets. Yia yias (Greek grannies) would sit on their porches wearing black from head to toe, knitting or talking of stories from the old country. Although the surroundings were simple in the diners, with booths and red vinyl seats and no AC in the summer heat but just the flicker of a rickety ceiling fan, the authentic food was always tasty. Usually these diners were run by a dad named Nick, with his son Nick and nephew Nick working in the kitchen. (I kid you not.)
My childhood home off Danforth Avenue:
Enough reminiscing. I’m starting to sound like one of those yia yias. Now, back to the festival. Dining at Astoria Shish Kabob House:
My Big Fat Greek dinner. We resisted the urge to break plates:
The crowded streets. People always love a good festival:
Nowadays, the Danforth is a trendy place for shopping and dining, with wine bars, cafés, boutiques and eateries lining the avenue. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was filmed right on the same block as Astoria’s where we ate. There are also an array of Yoga studios and doggie grooming salons to choose from. Young professionals are dipping into the real estate market in the area, but it will always be my beloved Greektown with those simple family diners, Yia yias in black and my memories.