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This article was published 17/11/2015 (2087 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s been open for barely a month, and business is booming at Helios Restaurant and Pizzeria.
The new eatery is located at 241 St. Mary’s Rd. in the space previously occupied by the restaurant La P’Tite France.
Owner Nikkos Douklias told The Lance the restaurant hit the ground running when it opened on Oct. 16 with a soft opening without a lot of fanfare or any advertising.
"The response has been so good, it’s been phenomenal," Douklias said. "It’s been way better than expected."
On that first Friday afternoon, the East Kildonan resident opened the doors with just himself and another server on front-of-house duty, and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of visitors that came by to check out the new restaurant.
"We opened that Friday around 4 p.m. and the evening was fairly steady. By the Saturday, it was nuts and we already had regulars," Douklias said.
The restaurant’s menu is a fusion of traditional Greek fare such as a chicken souvlaki platter, traditional gyros and Greek salad, as well as fare not exclusively-associated with Greece, including fish and chips, chicken fingers and cheeseburgers.
A signature highlight, however, is the mouth-watering selection of homemade, stone-fired pizzas. The Acropolis, for example, ranks among the favourites of Douklias and chef Marc Deleau. Its toppings include chicken, ham, feta, fresh spinach and black olives and it’s drizzled with olive oil.
Douklias’ father, who shares some of the cooking responsibilities in the kitchen and is a former restaurant owner himself, makes both the pizza dough and sauce from scratch.
"Almost everything as much as possible is made from scratch, although there are certain things you need to bring in at the beginning. My father has some secret recipes he has in an old book in Greek Code," he added with a laugh.
And as with many new business ventures, Douklias said, location can be a key ingredient to success and sustainability.
"We’re located so centrally here. We’ve been jokingly calling it a Greek island because there are so many connecting roads around the restaurant, you can’t miss it," he said.
The entrepreneur is also thrilled to have a team of staff that all rely on each other and all get along.
"The staff we do have is amazing. Everyone has meshed together wonderfully," Douklias said.
"In terms of my approach to the business, I do a bit of everything — I can be the server, cook or janitor. There’s no ego and I don’t make anyone feel like I’m superior to them. It’s a family-run restaurant, and many of the staff members love it already. You can tell they’re happy to come to work."
The fully-licensed restaurant is open from Monday to Sunday between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. and offers daily lunch specials and regular evening specials. The kitchen currently closes at 9:15 p.m., but chefs can make pizzas and pasta dishes until 9:45 p.m., which is subject to change in the future, Douklias said.
For more information, visit Helios Restaurant on Facebook.
The Lance community journalist
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.