The Athenian’s Neo Christodoulou to go it alone with Smashing Plates (updated)

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Picture credit: Steven Joyce
Picture credit: Steven Joyce

Related tags: Greek cuisine, Street food, Multi-site

The Athenian co-founder Neo Christodoulou has left the Greek street food business and is preparing to launch a rival brand called Smashing Plates.

Described as ‘on-the-go-Greek like you’ve never eaten before’, Smashing Plates will open four locations across London in the coming months that will all be on sites previously occupied by The Athenian.

Smashing Plates’ debut restaurant will open in London Bridge next month in the St Thomas Street unit that originally launched last year​ as The Athenian’s eighth permanent location.

It will subsequently launch sites in Canary Wharf, Tooting and Wembley, all in locations currently listed as being operated by The Athenian.

Smashing Plates also looks set to take over five of The Athenian’s 10 UK delivery kitchen locations, two of which are based in capital in Battersea and Hackney; with the other three located in Reading, Cambridge and Birmingham, respectively.

It would leave The Athenian with half of its estate intact, including three London restaurants in Shoreditch, Victoria and White City, and a single location in Bristol.

Documents filed to Companies House show that Christodoulou officially left as director of The Athenian earlier this month, with Richard Michael Carl Freke taking over the role.

BigHospitality ​has contacted Christodoulou for comment.

Christodoulou founded The Athenian in 2014 with Tim Vasilakis, who is listed as still being a director of the business alongside Freke.

In a statement, Vasilakis said: "The Athenian was launched by Athens born Tim Vasilakis, as a small street food stall back in 2014, and continues to this day under his ownership.

"The Athenian remains a fiercely independent brand and continues to offer its award-winning gyros with its unique recipes from White City, Shoreditch, Victoria and Bristol as well as nationwide delivery kitchens, and is excited to be announcing new sites across the UK very soon."

Smashing Plates is influenced by Christodoulou’s Greek-Cypriot heritage and will feature a menu centred around ‘unorthodox takes’ on classic Greek street-food dishes and gyros.

Made to a family recipe, the gyros will be available with chicken, pork, lamb, or a plant-based alternative, which will be marinated in Greek oregano for 24 hours before being seared to order and finished with lettuce, tomato, red onion, parsley, and a dusting of smoked paprika.

The wraps will be accompanied by a selection of sauces including a ‘signature’ Smashing Sauce of roasted aubergine and garlic butter, and served with a choice of hand-cut fries served spicy, cheesy or simply dusted with house-made oregano salt.

Side dishes, meanwhile, will include a range of salads; and Spanakopita filo rolls with spinach and feta, and topped with sesame seeds.

Spiced cinnamon pita and handmade baklava will feature on the dessert menu.

*This article was updated on 27 May to include comment from Tim Vasilakis.

Related topics: Openings, Street Food

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