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Eat and Drink

New midtown restaurant Fournos Theophilos offers homemade food for the full Greek 'experience'

With specialties from Macedonia to Crete, the new dining experience aims to be an "all-day culinary destination."

Fournos Theophilos in midtown is all about Greek

Fournos Theophilos in midtown is all about Greek food, including the delicious-looking cheese rag pie. Photo Credit: Fournos Theophilos

The flaky baklava, flavorful fava and feta cheese goodness found on a trip to Greece are now closer than ever with the opening of a new dining and market space called Fournos Theophilos.

The two-story, 5,200-square-foot space at 45 W. 45th St. features "homemade" Greek favorites, from roast lemon chicken, slow-cooked braised beef and cheese pies to lamb, fava and more that can be eaten on the premises or taken away.

The eatery, which opened Oct. 4, has a full schedule of offerings for breakfast (including Cretan pies like Sfakia and wild fennel pies), lunch (like braised lamb leg and chickpeas and fava and split pea spreads), dinner (such as oven-baked pasta and tomato braised beef), and dessert (including baklava, Thessaloniki cream bougatsa and Greek-inspired ice cream), and soup, salad, pie cup and yogurt bars for those who want a quick bite. 

All of it is prepared in an open kitchen that runs along the perimeter of the space and is sourced from local farms and vendors with products imported from Greece (Kalamata olives, olive oil, cheeses, spreads, jams and more). The recipes are pulled from Greek countryside favorites — what you'd find at a family's dinner table rather than on the street like gyro and souvlaki, according to Fournos Theophilos chef Dionisis Liakopoulos, who runs the kitchen with chef Yannis Tsiakos.

"You see a lot of Greek restaurants copy and paste recipes — Greek salad, souvlaki — but we wanted to offer food you would have if you traveled the world ... more than whatever shows up to American people," he told amNewYork. "We wanted to bring homemade food, like the food our mothers and families in Greece cook, like you have when sitting around the table."

Guests will also have the chance to learn recipes hands-on at cooking classes the space is planning for in the near future, including how to make Greek cheese pies, he added.

The hope is to bring the Greek cultural experience to New Yorkers, not only through the food but through art from the Benaki Museum of Athens and the Theophilos Museum, decorations such as white tiles, geometric motifs, terra-cotta and packaging containing excerpts from Greek literature and poetry.

The eatery's name, too, is embedded with meaning. In Greek, "Fournos" means "oven" while "Theophilos" was a painter who immortalized Greek folklife in his art.

"We want to show what is behind Greek food," Liakopoulos said. "We want to give the whole experience." 

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