“I love to make people happy through food. It’s always been my goal and it’s what drives me. That’s what I want to accomplish. I’m there every day, seventy-five hours per week. I love to talk to my customers and see their expressions.”
Greek pork and beef meatballs with mint, sumac, thyme, oregano, and house-cultured tzatziki; beef and pork meatloaf with chipotle barbecue sauce; skewered lamb, pork, and chicken marinated in garlic, bay leaves, oregano, lemon juice, árbol chilis, red wine vinegar, with lemon tahini butter.
This meat-and-three is the masterful outcome of Hontzas’ Greek heritage, southern upbringing, and fine dining training. The menu expands on recipes learned from his aunt and his grandfather Johnny (the restaurant’s namesake) and, like his family members, Hontzas values quality products and teaching his young staff how to care for them.
Lee Cary, Hontzas’ fishmonger, determines the restaurant’s seafood based on his weekly catch. Maple syrup comes from Justin Hill of the Eastaboga Bee Company in Lincoln, Alabama. Produce comes from one farmer, Dwight Hamm, who works fifty acres in Cullman. “He doesn’t use pesticides or irrigation. He depends on God and the rain“, Hontzas says. “We lean on him hard in terms of him dictating our menu”. No micro horseradish to be found here, but ample squash, turnips, watermelon, and baby vidalia.
Semifinalist: Best Chef – South.
James Beard Foundation