Spiro’s Mediterranean Cuisine brings its Greek comfort food to La Jolla
Nancy and Spiro Chaconas have brought their nearly quarter-century tradition of Greek comfort food to La Jolla, opening a location of their restaurant Spiro’s Mediterranean Cuisine at 909 Prospect St. in The Village.
Spiro’s offers traditional Greek recipes such as moussaka, an eggplant-based dish containing ground meat, and pastitsio, a Greek-style lasagna.
Nancy Chaconas said the restaurant also serves several different types of marinated meats and seafood grilled on skewers, called souvlaki, as well as fresh fish for fish and chips.
“All of our dishes are platters with rice pilaf or french fries and a Greek salad,” she said. “It’s really a lot of food.”
Spiro’s spices and olive oil come from Sparta, Greece, she added.
The Chaconases opened the first Spiro’s in Coronado 23 years ago, starting with the gyro sandwich, which Nancy fell in love with while in Corfu, Greece, for the couple’s wedding in 1995. “I said, ‘Wow! This sandwich is awesome,’” and she told her new husband she wanted to take the same flavors to Coronado.
The couple, residents of Coronado since 1995, opened their first restaurant after a bicycle ride revealed an empty restaurant space at the Coronado ferry landing, with no other Greek restaurants around.
Spiro Chaconas, a professor emeritus at UCLA and founding chair of the orthodontics department there, said he didn’t plan to become a restaurateur.
“I just enjoy eating Greek food, and this restaurant business just kind of fell in my lap. I’m happy that it did,” he said.
Spiro’s parents are from Greece and he grew up eating Greek food. “Most of our recipes are from my mother and grandmother, so they’re all authentic Greek recipes,” he said.
Now the couple’s two sons, Michael and Demetri, are part owners in the business. The family began building out the La Jolla restaurant in January after Michael completed his management degree at Point Loma Nazarene University and wanted to expand the business, Nancy said.
“We spoke as a family” about how to open the second location, and the project was born, Nancy said.
The restaurant’s completion was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it opened in September and “business is starting to pick up,” Spiro said.
Though opening under public health restrictions on restaurants is “unfortunate,” the La Jolla location has “plenty of outside seating” along adjacent Fay Avenue, he said.
Nancy said La Jollans have been “very welcoming. ... We’ve got some really wonderful customers.”
She said she’s looking forward to partnering with local organizations and continuing the Spiro’s tradition of supporting the community.
She said the company has always enjoyed supporting local schools, foundations, teachers, community centers and others through fundraisers and food donations and is in talks with local philanthropy group Las Patronas about organizing a fundraiser in La Jolla.
“We would always give back to our community,” Nancy said. “It’s just the way we are. ... We are excited and jumping in with both feet.”
To see the full Spiro’s menu and other information, visit spiroscuisine.com.
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