Take a free taste of Greek food in Concord
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Friday, Feb. 14, 2014

Take a free taste of Greek food in Concord

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- COURTESY OF BRANDI GOULD
Hariclea Kastanis “Rika” Gould is looking forward to offering customers free samples of her many authentic Greek dishes.
  • Want to go?

    What: Sample Greek entrees for free.

    When: 6-9 p.m. Feb. 21.

    Where: Gateway To Athens, 360 Exchange St. NW., Concord (in Afton Village, off George W. Liles Parkway near Interstate 85, Exit 54).

    More information: www.thegatewaytoathens.com.

If you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolutions have long faded away by mid-February. Can you even remember what your resolutions were?

Many people resolve to eat better or to lose weight. Either way, there is an event this week that can help you do both. “A Taste of Greece” will be Feb. 21 at the Gateway To Athens restaurant in Concord’s Afton Village.

If you’ve never eaten Greek food, this is the perfect opportunity to try some dishes without any commitment. If you have eaten Greek food, go anyway; there is sure to be something you always wanted to try.

Greek cuisine is considered part of the Mediterranean diet. According to U.S. News & World Report, studies have concluded that folks in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments, mainly because of what they eat.

For three hours on Feb. 21, Gateway To Athens will let you sample any of its many entrees free.

“We will offer people a chance to sample the food they want to order to get them familiar with the taste. They can sample our Greek wines and beers also,” said Gateway owner Hariclea Kastanis “Rika” Gould.

“We just expanded our menu recently, for those who prefer to eat something that is not especially from Greece. We always encourage people who are not fans of Greek food to customize their food to what they want in dishes. It’s about making everyone enjoy the food and experience.”

Although Gould was born in Australia, both of her parents were from Greece and fought very hard to keep their Greek heritage alive.

“Every Sunday my father would give my two brothers and I Greek lessons to speak the language,” she said. “My mother hosted many parties, and both were great cooks, so we prepared all sorts of delicious Greek food.”

Gould and her family moved to Greece when she was 11. There she grew up surrounded by the many tastes that Greece has to offer.

“I met my husband, Scott, while he was in the U.S. Air Force in Greece. We were married, and after he got out of the Air Force we ran our parents’ hotel on the island of Kos, which is now part of an extensive resort,” she said.

“We both cooked for over 300 people daily as well. Our children were born in Athens, Greece.”

In 2000 Gould and her family moved to Concord. Now they all work at the Gateway To Athens. Gould leads the way with her cooking expertise.

“The majority of my food is made from scratch. I don’t measure or follow a recipe; I guess I taste and go. All food is made to order, and nothing is pre-made.”

So if you ever wanted to try a gyro (pronounced YEER-oh) but were afraid to, this is your chance. Or perhaps some spanakopita (span-uh-KO-pee-tah) and baklava (bahk-lah-VAH) for dessert.

The Gateway To Athens opened in 2005. Gould said she loves offering the many tastes of her family’s heritage to the people of the Charlotte area.

“We wanted to bring a healthier version and focus on the Mediterranean diet with pure imported olive oil, spices and Kalamata olives. We buy the majority of our products from a Greek store in Charlotte, where everything is imported from Greece.”

Linda Doherty is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Linda? Email her at lindamariebd@gmail.com.

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