When Kyriakos Mavridis decided to sell the family home in Coober Pedy and use all his savings to open up a Greek restaurant in Adelaide, he never envisaged that it would go on to become one of the country’s most iconic Greek eateries. Estia has won numerous accolades, and most recently received the 2019 Restaurant and Catering Award for Excellence for Best Greek Restaurant in Australia, outperforming Greca in Queensland and Brika in Western Australia.

“It certainly feels good to win on a national level against great competition, and it is rewarding to be officially recognised for all the years of hard work,” Nick Mavridis, Kyriakos’ son, told Neos Kosmos.

Kyriakos, who migrated from Northern Greece in the 70’s, first opened the doors to Estia in 1993 together with his sons Nick and Anestis. Over 16 years, the family have dedicated their time and efforts to make it one of the best restaurants in South Australia.

“Location is key for us, as is the relationship we have developed with our customers over the years, the quality of the food we serve and the idea of sharing mezze like Greeks do, which is a given these days but wasn’t the case 20 years ago,” explains the 46-year-old restaurateur, who was only 19 and still a university student when his father decided to relocate to Adelaide.

READ MORE: From hamburgers to moussaka: 50 Years of Xenos Greek restaurant

Kyriakos Mavridis, 80, owns the best Greek restaurant in Australia.

After selling the family house, Kyriakos, a restless entrepreneur, started looking around for new opportunities and soon happened upon a restaurant in the area of Henley Beach in Adelaide’s western suburbs that had been put on the market.

“That’s when my father announced to us that he was going to buy the restaurant for me and my brother to work in. At the time, concerned about the impact a step like that would have on me and my comfortable university life, I pleaded with him to change his mind,” Nick recalls.

READ: A Greek Australian behind the ‘Best Patisserie in Australia’

But Kyriakos wouldn’t listen, and reassured his children that it would all be okay.

He went ahead, borrowed $30,000, and with the proceeds of the house sale risked it all on the new venture.

Nick says that the restaurant struggled to make ends meet for the first five to six years. After that, things started to get better.

“We were thrown in at the deep end because we didn’t really know much about the industry. However, we slowly got the hang of it; we put systems in place, selected our staff carefully and all the hard work started to pay off.”

Estia won its first award in 1998 as the restaurant’s location of Henley Square started to take off, becoming one of the trendiest spots to ‘hang out’ in Adelaide.

Kyriakos still potters around the place, showing no intention to ‘retire’ despite the fact he turns 80 in January.

“My father still comes in every day to tell my brother Anestis and myself what to do. He loves talking to our regulars who also enjoy his company and family atmosphere,” Nick says.

“I guess none of this would have been possible without our father and our customers and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their love and support all these years.
“Nothing makes us happier than to watch our customers leave our Estia happy.”

READ NEXT: Top 10 Greek Australian chefs to know