By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
HOOVER – A well-known family in the restaurant industry has brought a taste of Greece to a new location on Valleydale Road.
Keith and Amy Richards, founders of Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, have opened Greek Street, a fast-casual restaurant serving cuisine similar to the street fare in Greece’s capital city, Athens.
The couple wanted to replicate not only the taste of the street food they had sampled in Greece, but also the quick style of certain eateries that have replaced the traditional dining room with a takeout-focused format, a concept emphasized during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We brought back what we felt was the true passion and culture, the family, the food, the atmosphere and the relationships,” Keith Richards said during a grand opening celebration on Tuesday, July 20. “It’s really what you’re going to get in the small, front-end restaurants, where you take it, you sit out in the park and you eat it.”
When he saw a “For Lease” sign in the window of the vacant storefront next to Fancy Fur Pet Grooming and Boutique in the Inverness Village shopping center, Keith said he knew immediately what he wanted to do.
“What I found during COVID when everything shut down was an opportunity. Like we saw an opportunity 23 years ago for Taziki’s, I saw an opportunity to do something different,” he said. “We live down the street, and when Daylight Donuts went out, I said, ‘Hmm, it’s got a pickup window, it’s small.’ Our very first restaurant was 1,100 square feet, and this is right at 1,200, so it’s similar to the size.”
Keith consulted with Raul Hernandez, his long-time “culinary sidekick,” on his plans for Greek Street and the menu he said could—and likely would—change as new ideas surface.
The current menu features a variety of appetizers, including hummus and whipped feta; chicken, beef and lamb, and veggie falafel gyros; sandwiches, including a lamb burger; chicken, beef and lamb and pork bowls; plus freshly made sides and desserts.
Keith and Amy’s children, Oliver, Charley, Margaux and Maggie, have been involved in the creation of Greek Street, too.
Charley painted Greek-themed murals on several of the restaurant’s walls. One of the walls features a large map of the city of Athens, adorned with photos Keith has printed from customers’ travels to Greece.
Other special design elements are the front counter covered in roof tiles from Tsitalia, Greece and the floor painted to resemble stones.
“Everybody has pitched in with this one,” Keith said of the restaurant. “It took a family to create this. When you build a company and you stick with the culture, and you stick with the family and you stick with the relationships, and you’ve got God on your side as well, it tends to go a little bit smoother.”
Amy said they held a soft opening, easing into the new location by hosting two family and friends nights before opening to the public in early July.
“So far, it’s been going really smoothly,” she said. “This was perfect for the neighborhood. It will be a fun place.”
Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato called the company’s food “outstanding” and noted the Richardses’ generosity to their community.
“They’re good folks, and they give back to the community. That’s the most important thing I think that I can say about them,” Brocato said. “They’ve been very successful, and what they’ve taken they’ve given back. We’re very grateful for them.”
Before a ribbon cutting ceremony, Keith presented a $1,000 donation to King’s Home President Lew Burdette for the nonprofit organization, which provides Christ-centered homes and services for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
“It’s like the mayor said, you have a long history of giving back to the community. That’s a big part of your success, giving God the credit,” Burdette said. “Thank you for helping abused youth, moms and kids at King’s Home and making an eternal difference in their lives. They need a lot of hope and a lot of opportunity, and that’s what support like this brings to King’s Home.”
Although it is the first of its kind in Shelby County, Greek Street represents the couple’s third restaurant to open in Hoover, with two Taziki’s locations at Lee Branch and Chace Lake. Alabaster is home to another Taziki’s location.
The first Taziki’s opened in Birmingham in 1998. Since then, the company has expanded to include locations across the country.
Greek Street offers App-thru, delivery, curbside and takeout services, along with limited patio seating.
Customers may order via the Greek Street app.
Greek Street is located at 5291 Valleydale Road, Suite 14. Greg Carr serves as the restaurant’s manager.
For more information, visit Greekstreet.com or @grkstreet on Facebook.