NAPLES — When Yannis Temenos first set eyes on the love of his life in Athens, Greece, he was just 14 years old. She was not allowed to date either, which put a kink in his plans. But they remembered each other throughout the years. And 42 years later, Yannis found Lucia again over the Internet. The two found their spark was still alive both for each other, and for their culinary roots of Greece.
Yannis and Lucia joined together in love again, just three years ago, but this time, in matrimony at City Hall in downtown Naples.
“There’s a saying in Greece that goes, ‘The pot rolled and found it’s lid. Each pot has it’s own lid’” said Yannis Temenos, beaming with pride at her husband, who is often found cooking Greek delicacies alongside his wife, to offer for sale at open air fresh markets each day in Naples, Bonita Springs, and in Estero.
They both have a passion for authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, and it shows when customers flock to their GreekElicious tent, even during a rainy afternoon, at the Open Air Market located in the Vanderbilt Collection off of Vanderbilt Beach Road.
“I have people coming over for shish kababobs tonight, and these cookies will be dessert,” said Sandy Scoggins of Naples, as she picked up a box of delicately sprinkled sesame seed crispy twists from Lucia Temenos, of GreekElicious. “I’m Armenian, and this is as close as I can get to Armenian cookies.”
Meanwhile, Maria Athanasopoulos tasted GreekElicious’s spinach pie, and had three words to say. “I love it.” In between dainty bites, she explained why. “It’s fresh, and it’s authentic. That’s what I like about coming to GreekElicious. Since I am Greek, it’s the most authentic place in Naples to eat.”
Authentic indeed, as Lucia learned how to bake and cook under the tutelage of her grandmother in her family’s kitchen in Greece, and she spent twenty-five years cooking and baking for Greek Festivals in California, before arriving to Naples.
Yannis also took his Greek talents for cooking to the Culinary Institute in New York City to perfect his craft, and was a professional chef for fourteen years at Tavern on the Green in New York City; but he always had a dream of opening a place he could call his own.
Together, the Temenos’ began to cater in Southwest Florida, and after many requests from happy clients, they decided to open a permanent location for their own Greek Cafe and Pastry Shop in North Naples, with a grand opening date tentatively set for Valentine’s Day.
Some of the items offered on GreekElicious’s menu will be gyro sandwiches, Spanakopita, also known as spinach pie, Tyropita, which is cheese pie, chicken and pork kabobs, Greek salad, chicken lemon, also known as Avgolemeno soup, falafel, and pita bread.
“Plus, we’ll offer our famous Greek pastries, too,” said Lucia of her popular items already selling at the open air markets. Some of the Temenos’s most popular desserts include Baklava, which is comprised of mixed nuts with sweet spices wrapped in phillo dough and drenched with sugar and honey syrup. Katafi, is another distinctive treat with toasted almonds with sweet spices wrapped in shredded phyllo dough and drenched in sugar and honey syrup. GreekElicious offers many varieties of cookies, which are a hit with every day entertaining and special occasions.
“Every dish is its own creation. There’s no dish that is too difficult for us to create. We don’t use any written recipes, because everything is in our heads,” said Lucia Temenos, as she served three more catering boxes to a client at the open air market in the Vanderbilt Collection.
If You Go:
Open Air Market
2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Grand opening on Valentine’s Day
975 Imperial Golf Course Blvd, Suite 116
Naples, FL 34110