The Chef Who Introduced Authentic Greek Cuisine to Phoenixville
As you wander down the sidewalks of Bridge Street, you might recognize the subtle nod to Greece’s ancient culture. At the corner of Gay and Bridge Streets is a quaint restaurant that vibes with the islands of the Aegean Sea. Cobblestone sidewalks, white table linens, olive walls, and sparkling water are a few of the Greek dining essentials. Luckily, Phoenixville has its own little piece of Greece—Avlos Greek Cuisine. Avlos isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience fueled by family history.
The History of Avlos’ Chef
Years before Avlos opened its doors to the public, Chef Nicole Skartsilas knew she wanted to bring Greek cuisine to Phoenixville. The idea came to her as she was walking down Gay Street and rounded the corner onto Bridge Street. Upon reaching the brick sidewalks, she felt a connection to Greece. The sidewalks and small businesses reminded her of the towns in her Greek travels. Coincidentally, the current location of Avlos was the exact spot she envisioned her dream.
Skartsilas’ ancestors originated from Mytilene, Greece. The island has a rich history and is mentioned in the early poems of Homer; most notably, “The Odyssey” and “The Illiad.” Chef Skartsilas’ inspiration draws from her experiences in Greece. She was raised on Mount Olympus, which is commonly known as the home of the gods in Greek mythology.
Avlos, the name of the restaurant, is based on the ancient Greek instrument that was referenced in various historical pieces.
“Aulos, plural auloi, Roman tibia plural tibiae, in ancient Greek music, a single- or double-reed pipe played in pairs (auloi) during the Classical period.”Britannica.com
Skartsilas spent 7 years cooking around Greece. Her culinary endeavors took her all over the islands. From her home of Mytilene to the southern island of Crete, she was influenced by cultures all over the country.
The Authentic Taste
The dishes pull concepts from different areas around Greece. For instance, the lamb chop recipe comes from Crete. Other aspects of her food come from Greek cities and villages. Avlos’ menu incorporates true Greek plates, which are dishes made from Skartsilas’ culinary travels. If you are not familiar with Greek food, you’ll find a few common ingredients in the dishes. They are known to have lamb, fresh fish, and pork.
Chef Skartsilas takes every chance she can get to use imported Greek ingredients. At Avlos, you can eat food like pasta, lentils, or cheese from the islands of Greece. The rotating menu is also based on the currently available ingredients. You can find the current menu online.
Avlos Greek Cuisine
The dream became reality when the location at 258 Bridge Street became available. Skartsilas and her sister were able to open Avlos Greek Cuisine. Unfortunately, they opened shortly before the pandemic and experienced hardship as a new business during unprecedented times. Through resilience–and the measures Phoenixville Borough took for small businesses–Avlos bounced back and continues to serve as a destination restaurant.
Recently, the restaurant won Main Line Today’s 2022 Best of the Main Line and Western Suburbs award.
It’s typical to dine in Europe and hear about the background behind the food you order. At Avlos, the Greek cuisine is tied to Skartsilas’ heritage. You can see the passion of the owners through the authentic Greek menu. If you’re dining at Avlos, take a moment to ask about the history and influence of your plate.
You can support this woman-owned, local business by visiting avlosgr.com.
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