Maria's Greek KitchenWELCOME TO MARIA’S GREEK KITCHEN! HOW DID A SIXTIES SOMETHING FAMOUS SOUTHWESTERN ARTIST END UP STARTING A BAKERY? WELL, LIKE A LOT OF THINGS IN LIFE: QUITE BY ACCIDENT!

THIS PAST CHRISTMAS (AS I ALWAYS DO) I BAKED BAKLAVA FOR MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I WAS GOING EVERYDAY TO THE LITTLE GROCERY STORE ON THE CORNER ACROSS THE STREET THAT IS ALSO A POST OFFICE. EACH DAY I’D BRING IN THREE/FOUR BOXES & SHIPPED THEM OFF. AFTER FOUR DAYS OF THIS THE OWNER ASKED ME WHAT I KEPT SENDING IN THOSE BOXES THAT SMELLED SO GOOD? I SAID, “THE BEST BAKLAVA YOU HAVE EVER EATEN!” HE SAID, “OH YEAH, I HAVE EATEN A LOT OF BAKLAVA, SO NEXT TIME BRING ME SOME & WE WILL SEE WHAT I THINK?” HE ALSO NOTED THAT HE SELLS BAKLAVA BY THE CASH REGISTER. I TOOK ONE LOOK AT IT AND SAID, “MY FRIEND IF THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL BAKLAVA (THAT IS FACTORY MADE & FROZEN) FORGIVE ME, BUT “THAT IS S..T!” HE JUST LAUGHED.

SO, THE NEXT DAY I BROUGHT IN MY THREE/FOUR BOXES AND SOME SAMPLES FOR HIM! I WATCHED INTENTLY AS HE AND HIS EMPLOYEE ATE THEIR FIRST BITE: NOT ONLY DID THEY SAY IT WAS THE BEST THEY HAD EVER EATEN BUT HE OFFERED TO SELL IT FOR ME. AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS HOW MARIA’S GREEK KITCHEN GOT IT’S FIRST ACCOUNT! TOTALLY UNEXPECTED BUT SOMETHING I SHOULD HAVE DONE A LONG TIME AGO WHILE MY MOTHER, MARIA,  WAS STILL LIVING. I WISH I HAD A DOLLAR FOR EVERYTIME SOMEONE ATE MY/HER BAKLAVA. THEY ALWAYS SAID, “NIO, YOU SHOULD SELL THIS BAKLAVA!”

NOW, I AM SO PROUD TO SHARE HER DELICIOUS DESSERTS WITH THE WORLD. EVERYTHING IS HAND MADE FRESH WHEN YOU ORDER IT. I USE ONLY THE FINEST INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HER BAKLAVA AND PAXIMADIA. I WILL ALSO BE MAKING HER GALATOBOUREKO, WHICH WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE FOR PICK UP HERE IN CHICAGO. JUST THE WAY SHE TAUGHT ME AND ALWAYS WITH HER SECRET INGREDIENT: MARIA’S LOVE!  SHE WOULD ALWAYS SAY TO ME “ALWAYS BAKE WITH MY LOVE IN YOUR HEART, NIONIO (NICKNAME FOR ALL DIONYSIOS’)  MOU AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE DELICIOUS!” AND, SO IT IS.

KALI OREKSI (GOOD APPETITE) FRIENDS,

DIONYSIOS “NIO” TAVLOS