Once upon a time there was a Greek lad living in Liverpool, who was a passionate Liverpool supporter. He would not miss a home game at Anfield (including friendlies) and, although not a season ticket holder, would do his best to attend some away games too, sitting in the home fans' stands and pretending to be a home fan so he wouldn't get found out.
Even though he was one of the most positive persons you'll ever meet, he did have one massive concern in his mind: he believed that he was the reason his beloved football team had not won the Premier League title for almost 28 years. You see, he moved from Greece to Liverpool in the year when Liverpool won their last league title!! Not only that, but when he moved to Brighton to study, Brighton & Hove Albion got relegated, sold their ground and were damned to obscurity until he eventually returned back Liverpool.
While attending the games at Anfield, our lad and his mates went through the usual matchday routine: a few drinks, a lot of football banter, and the customary junk meal before kick off. And after experiencing the pain of tasting every single type of food the Anfield area had to offer, he decided that enough was enough. The Reds may still be struggling to win the league, but their fans deserve to get some success when it comes to good, proper food.
You see, a pre-game meal at the time consisted of the usual selection of frozen burgers, hot dogs made by questionable ingredients, poorly made pizzas, fish & chips, pies probably made shortly after WW2 and, to top it all, sold at extortionate prices. To our lad, the only oasis in the culinary desert surrounding Anfield was Homebaked Anfield, a community cafe/bakery that served and still serves delicious, homemade pies.
Around the same time, our lad was already looking to start his own business. He was getting fed up with how things in his homeland were. Greece was in financial ruins, its people in desperate need of help from a series of useless governments, and there were opportunities to showcase some of the best products Greece had to offer, in the UK. Liverpool was his home away from home. And he believed that Scousers have some similarities to Greeks: they are as passionate about Liverpool as Greeks are about Greece; they both moan about their shortcomings, but if an outsider dares say anything bad about their beloved city/country, they are in deep trouble; and above all, they are both stereotyped as being lazy, tax-dodgers, the bad children of the UK/Europe.
So his mind was made up. He was going to hit two birds with one stone! He was going to introduce the Anfield crowd to Greek street-food. What Greeks eat instead of burgers. And in doing so, he would make people aware of his homeland. And, to cut the long story short, this is how souvlaki came to Anfield in August 2017!
It took the Anfield crowd three games to start forming queues around Greekosophy's food-stall to get a piece of souvlaki. It was not just the great view from the stall (overlooking the new Main Stand in the background). And it was also not only the fact that this was something completely different to try, something noone else sold. It was mainly because of how it was made: the meat was fresh, locally sourced and grilled on the spot; the vegetables were also fresh; all the sauses and dips were homemade; the pita bread, the traditional Greek pita, was nothing like the pita bread you've tasted before. As for the price, it was less or about the same you paid for the frozen stuff you got elsewhere.
Our lad was very proud. He could no longer go to the games as often as before but he was compensated by the compliments his customers gave him about the food. His friends started hearing people say things like "this is THE place to eat on matchdays" to their mates as they queued for some Greek food. Having a souvlaki before the game became a pre-match routine to many match goers.
But things were about to get even better. It all started when the lad had an idea for an upcoming visit of Jose Mourinio's Manchester Utd to Anfield. Knowing how much Liverpool supporters 'loved' Jose, he put up a sign by the food-stall (see below).
This sign quickly made the rounds around social media and within a day it achieved over a quarter of a million views and thousands of likes and comments. A Greek reporter visiting Anfield on the day uploaded the photo to his social media accounts and within a few hours every single sport website in Greece featured it. The Greek souvlaki at Anfield had reached a new level!
The sign became so popular that the lad put up another sign in the following game and for each game thereafter, as people kept searching for and taking photos of each new poem by the "Greek souvlaki poet".
The popularity of Greekosophy soon attracted the local press. After all, it was a match perfectly suited to the Anfield crowd. Klopp and the Reds were doing the job and keeping the fans happy inside the ground, while Greekosophy was keeping the fans well fed and happy outside of it.
As business was picking up, people kept on asking whether Greekosophy had a restaurant too. Even though our lad did not have any plans for restaurants, there was an urgent need for a professional kitchen area, where he and his friends could experiment with more flavours and prepare the ever increasing amount of food needed to serve the Anfield crowd.
The search for a small space to achieve this began.
To be continued....
(Part 2 - The restaurant, will follow soon)