Just as every picture tells a story, so does every restaurant. The story of how Marco Alexandridis came to co-own Oliv Pit Athenian Grill in Boca Raton is a terrific story, full of family history, family values and some of the best Greek food you’ll taste in South Florida.
Marcos Alexandridis, a Greek native, was raised in Montreal with a soccer ball on his foot. That is, Alexandridis comes from a soccer stars as his father, uncle and cousin each played for Greece’s team Olympiacos. Alexandridis played in Canada and for Saprissa in Costa Rica.
Alexandridis, whose business partner in Oliv Pit, Emmanuel Vlahos, is an Ohio native and son of Greek immigrants, who moved here recently after spending the last 27 years in Athens. Alexandridis moved from Montreal in 2017 so his 15-year-old, Andrew, could further his athletic career.
It’s no surprise that Andrew, whom his father calls “Drew,’’ is an athlete. But instead of soccer, Drew Alexandridis’ passions are football (quarterback) and baseball (pitcher).
“He loves football because of the adrenalin, but he has a great fastball,’’ Alexandridis said. “I’m hoping he picks baseball.’’
Alexandridis and Vlahos opened Oliv Pit this past December so father and son could remain in the U.S., and because Marcos Alexandridis missed authentic Greek cuisine.
“I had played soccer all over the world – in places that had a lot of good Greek food – but I could never find authentic Greek food in South Florida,’’ Alexandridis said.
Welcome to Oliv Pit, which imports most of its ingredients from Greece and sources the fresh produce from local independent suppliers. The premium meats are sourced from Kassos Family Premium Meats in Ohio, and the restaurant serves imported Greek wine and beer exclusively.
“Our recipes are from everywhere, including Crete and Santorini,’’ Alexandridis said. “Because we are a fairly small place (84 seats), we don’t have a lot refridgeration space, so everything comes in fresh daily.’’
The Oliv Pit’s menu is steeped in Greek – from the Cheese Pie to the Greek Village Salad to the Beef/Lamb Gyro and outstanding Lamb Chops. As with many of the entrees, the Lamb Chops are cooked over the restaurant’s “Olive Pit,’’ which is fueled from olive pits. The Oliv Pit is touted to be the first restaurant in U.S. to use barbeque briquettes made of olive pits for grilling its meats.
“We harvest our own olive roil from the island of Crete,’’ Alexandridis said. “We bottle it, label it and sell it to our customers who want virgin olive oil.’’
Alexandridis also sells the “Olive Briq Premium BBQ Briquettes’’ inside the restaurant. Each bag is a great example of the cooking experience at the Olive Pitt.
“I’m a passionate guy – just like when I played soccer,’’ Alexandridis said. “I can’t put out good that I don’t like.’’