Photograph by Drew Podo
When Nick and Eleni Poulos moved to Atlanta from Greece in 1994, they decided to open a restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Over the past 23 years, Nick’s Food to Go has become a city-wide favorite for Greek food. Manager Evie Poulos, their daughter, estimates that they sell upwards of 200 gyros every day. But despite the restaurant’s reputation for their Greek sandwiches, gyros weren’t even on the menu when Nick’s opened. “Back then, people didn’t know what Greek food was,” Evie says. “If you didn’t grow up with it, it was easy to be intimidated by it.”
The restaurant originally sold hot dogs, chicken wings, and burgers, but Eleni eventually wanted to add Greek flavors to the menu. “They started just selling gyro meat and slowly introducing it to people,” Evie says. Customers quickly fell in love with the new dishes. Now, one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is the grilled chicken gyro, made with Eleni’s secret family recipes for marinated chicken and tzatziki.
Other than a few menu items, Nick’s Food to Go hasn’t changed much over the past twenty years. Eleni is still the sole cook, and the restaurant is still entirely family run. Nick retired in 2014, but he’s still a regular presence at the restaurant. Evie claims that the consistency and hard work is part of the reason for the restaurant’s success, but says the real reason that the restaurant has been open for twenty years is because it’s a family business. “One of the hardest part with restaurants is finding people to work for you,” she says. “Here, we’re just family.”