The Parthenon since the beginning of Greektown

By Anna Heider

Greektown Chicago started in the 1840s, with the arrival of new Greeks to America.

Greeks came to America in pursuit of a better life.

Chris Liakouras, 75, owner of The Parthenon from Megalopolis, Greece, moved to Chicago in 1955.

He has been running The Parthenon restaurant for 45 years.

Through those years, Liakouras has seen positive changes to Greektown.

When Liakouras first came here,“there was [only] one restaurant.”

But that didn’t last for long. Today, the streets of Greektown are lined with restaurants and other small businesses.

Currently there are 880 Greeks living in Greektown.

Greektown’s boundaries are, Madison Street to the north, the Eisenhower Expressway to the south, the Kennedy Expressway to the east, and Green Street on the west.

The Greek restaurants along the streets of Greek town include, The Parthenon, Pegasus, Athena Restaurant, all serving authentic foods of Greece.

When Liakouras moved to Chicago in 1955, Greektown was a different place.

“ When I first came here, there was a bad neighborhood in the way… Now it’s all clean and [has] brand new buildings. Everything is much better than it was,” Liakouras said.

The Greeks of Greektown Chicago were also the first to introduce the new cuisine of gyros and saganaki to America.

According to Liakouras “I invented the flaming cheese… saganaki.”

Greektown of Chicago has changed over the years for the better.

“ That’s my life, I love it and it’s getting better all the time,” he said, “never got any worse from the beginning we opened 45 years ago.”

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