Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“This! Is! Souvlaki!” Molon Labe brings Greece to SWFL


After a long career in the restaurant business, George Rozakias and Alex Kouras were looking for a place to start a Greek restaurant their way.

Rozakias previously helped start Eat Greek in Miami, his business partners were originally considering opening in New York City, but started to look elsewhere after deciding the costs and regulations in New York were prohibitive.

After visiting Fort Myers, the pair saw an opportunity to fill what they thought was an underserved niche in the areas cuisine. The doors to Molon Labe opened in August, which Rozakias said was expedited by the relative ease of opening a restaurant in Fort Myers.

“[The city] helped me a lot,” said Rozakias.” A lot of people told me I was going to suffer, honestly I loved. They really took care of me in every way. They walked me through everything.”

The restaurant’s name comes from a famous phrase the ancient Spartan king Leonidas used to answer the Persian ruler Xerxes when he demanded that Greek troops surrender their weapons at the battle of Thermopylae. Kouras explained that the partners chose the iconic phrase for its newer meaning.

“In Ancient Greek it means come and take them. In modern Greek it also means come and get it,” Kouras said. “We’re saying come and get the Souvlaki.“

Rozakias serves as the restaurant’s chef, and most of his recipes are rooted in the cooking of his grandparents. He tries to return to Greece as often as possible to find new recipes and ingredients to keep things fresh. He says that authentic ingredients from Greece are essential to the food’s flavor.

“It’s very important. We import the olive oil, the feta, the saganaki. As much as we can,” said Rozakias.

Spicy feta dip and zucchini fritters are just some of the featured dishes that benefit from Rozakias straight-from-Greece philosophy. The restaurant also imports authentic Greek wine and beer, and is planning to expand its selection in the future.

Rozakias shops personally for the restaurant’s produce at local markets, and said that he wants a meal at Molon Labe to feel fast and easy while still maintaining the quality that his customers have come to expect.

“We’re trying to build something healthy, organic, and quick,” said Rozakias. “You sit down and in half an hour you’re eating an entree. The food can be fast without being fast food quality. It can be great food fast.”

Molon Labe Souvlaki
5100 South Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

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