Mrs. Betty Reflects on 25 Years of Acropolis Mediterranean Grill
A Milestone for our Hamilton Place Restaurant
That is how long the Acropolis has been feeding the people of Chattanooga. In celebration of this special anniversary and huge milestone, the owners and operators want to say– with the fullest of hearts– thank you to the community for supporting them all these years.
Mrs. Betty, the Kyriakidis family matriarch, and owner of the Hamilton Place restaurant, recalls the early years being difficult ones, opening a brand new place, and building from the ground up.
“Everything else in the area was a chain,” she said. “They all said you’ll never make it against the big guys, but we did it anyway, and we’re still here.”
Acropolis Grill really has been a family business through and through, in the truest sense of the word. Teddy Kyriakidis, Mrs. Betty’s late husband, was in charge of the kitchen, and many of the restaurant’s recipes originated with him. He worked to develop a menu, incorporating only the freshest of ingredients, but ultimately, what he created was much more than a menu and a restaurant. Teddy created a family.
Mrs. Betty, known as Yia-Yia (Greek for grandma) by the children of all their regular customers, has a half century’s worth of memories of getting to know her clientele on a real level, and befriending them.
“There’s not a week that goes by that someone doesn’t come in and say ‘Do you remember me? You used to give me cookies or let me bake bread with you,’ and now we share those memories,” Mrs. Betty said.
She recalls one family whose young child bonded with her husband Teddy after visiting the restaurant several times with his family. He used to go into the kitchen and help him prepare the chips when his family came in to eat. The boy used to say, “When I grow up, I want to be just like Teddy.” He was so inspired by the chef and his work, that he went on to open several restaurants of his own, forging a path in the hospitality industry.
So the Acropolis Grill has been not only a place for families to gather and share meals, but also to become a part of something bigger, to find a human connection in an all too often disconnected world.
The Kyriakidis family has customers who have followed them from Little Athens, their first mom-and-pop restaurant in East Ridge, and their continued support and patronage has meant the world. But it’s clear that that support has been reciprocal.
“Our customers have been so loyal,” Mrs. Betty shared. “I cry with them, I laugh with them, I pray with them– because they are my family.”
So their Always Fresh, Always Family tagline you may have seen around really gets to the heart of what they do. For this family, it’s about so much more than a good meal. It’s about community.