Thomas Douzis is the founder of Ergon – a food store-turned-restaurant operator which has six outlets in Greece and recently opened its first UK outpost near Oxford Street.
Douzis believes the quality of Greek produce that Ergon uses combined with the diversity of London’s dining scene offers the perfect backdrop for further growth in the capital.
“We believe there’s a gap in the market when it comes to offering all things together – a shop, deli and restaurant offering everything from branded olive oil through to modern Greek recipes and an a la carte restaurant menu,” he told BigHospitality.
“We’d definitely like to expand in London, possibly with a franchise. We are thinking of our second UK site now, we need to find the right prime locations and when we are completely stable we will progress with it.
“Ultimately we would like to have a number of outlets in London and some other major UK cities. The restaurants will then give us the brand awareness boost we will need for our products to be stocked by some of the key organic retailers.”
Ergon is the brainchild of entrepreneurial brothers Thomas and Giorgos Douzis. The group’s first deli opened in 2011 and within three months celebrity chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos – formerly of The French Laundry, Greek MasterChef judge and presenter of his own food show in Greece – came aboard as executive chef.
The London restaurant, situated on Picton Place, opened last month following the popularity of the brand’s six outlets that have opened in Greece since 2011. Described as ‘a celebration and reinvention of Mediterranean culture’, the new restaurant offers diners authentic Greek recipes with a twist.
With a menu devised by Skarmoutsos and chef de cuisine Dimitris Katrivesis (who honed his craft at El Bulli), every dish at Ergon is made for sharing. Items include black tzatziki flavoured with squid ink and gruyere cheese rolled with oats and syrup.
The venue’s stripped-back décor features exposed light bulbs, white-painted brick walls and stainless steel fixtures. Minimalist wooden benches allow diners to focus purely on the plates in front of them, which Douzis believes ‘heightens the senses and overall experience’.
Alongside the restaurant offer, customers also have the option of purchasing some of Ergon’s 1,200 products.
Douzis added: “The support we’ve had from our customers in Greece is truly overwhelming and completely exceeded our expectations. With this demand and driving factor, we knew we had to expand our food venture and what better place to begin than in London?
“We’re excited to welcome the Great British public and visitors to our vibrant store and spread our passion for Greek gastronomy around the city.”
Ergon is now open at 16 Picton Place in London.