A hybrid menu that incorporates grits, chicken pot pie, spanakopita and souvlaki — and doesn’t have any regrets — is the brainchild of Timothy Hontzas, an Alabama native and grandson of Greek immigrants.
Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood, Alabama pays tribute to Hontzas’ immigrant grandfather, Johnny Hontzopoulos, who ran a restaurant in the 1950s and 60s.
Hontzopoulos came to America from Greece in 1921 on a cattle boat, jumping ship in New Orleans and beginning his own American odyssey.
He worked his way up in the restaurant business before starting his own successful restaurant.
But Hontzas has taken his iteration of the restaurant to the next level, adding his own southern flair to classic dishes like keftedakia (meatballs) and spanakopita.
Hontzas and his restaurant have attracted media attention, appearing in publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Birmingham Magazine and Atlanta Magazine, among others.
Southern Foodways recently featured the chef in a short documentary video which looks at Hontzas and the role of Greek immigrants in shaping Birmingham dining.
See the video
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