Angelo Giovanis, the chef-owner behind two St. Paul locations of the Naughty Greek, is excited about joining the unique culture of downtown Minneapolis’ skyways.
“The customers downtown are different … very hip and well-educated, most of them really know what they want, they’ve experienced travel, they’re much more open,” Giovanis gushed recently about what he’s most looking forward to in opening his first Minneapolis location.
“It’s an experiment. Looking for the reaction is what I’m excited to see.”
In mere weeks, his newest experiment in fresh, quality ingredients and Greek sourcing will open shop in what was once Au Bon Pain, on the skyway level of Capella Tower.
The new location will break the mold of his existing restaurants, while serving a tighter version of the Naughty Greek’s menus—one more reflective of the skyway lunchtime tempo.
“We’ve taken our menu and condensed it to pitas—the sandwiches, y’know the gyros, salads, and we’re also… everybody’s asking for these ‘bowls’ now, so we’ve taken what we typically have a ‘plate’ in our regular restaurants and we’ve basically said the plate has become a bowl.”
The new location also won’t be set up cafe-style, like the University and Snelling location. More in keeping with skyway spacing and pacing, this Naughty Greek will feature a queue where customers order directly from cooks, who Giovanis says will ask what options they’d like from various items, working their way down a counter to the cashier. We’re assured limited seating will be available, though; no one’s getting ushered to the door.
“The fact that it’s done in a faster way is not going to take away at all from the product that we’re really dedicated in offering—which is everything is still made from scratch, everything is still done daily.”
If anything, this minimalism will force the focus to the quality and freshness of their ingredients.
“I think we’ve always promoted the idea that we’re sourcing our things from Greece, and everything is local, now it’s becoming a trend everywhere,” says Giovanis. “But for us, it’s not just writing on the wall, it’s really a part of who we are, and [now in the skyway] in a different format it’s going to resonate.”
So just when can the downtown crowd expect to enjoy the Naughty Greek in-hand?
“Our target opening date is the first week of February,” says Giovanis, with a chuckle. “We’ll see how close I get to it.”