Q • I take advantage of Friday lunches at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church every chance I get. The food is so tasty, particularly the baked fish. — Tom Fleer, Sunset Hills
A • Andreas Karakasis heads the kitchen operations for Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, home to weekly cafeteria-style Greek luncheons on Fridays and the annual St. Louis Greek Fest held every Memorial Day weekend.
Church leader Art Liyeos says that people show up every Friday just for the baked fish. One afternoon, a customer insisted on knowing who makes the fish and Liyeos steeled himself for a complaint. Instead, she laid it on thick, “This is the best fish I’ve ever eaten!”
Except for the fish, gyro sandwich and Greek salad, the lunch menu changes weekly, sometimes adding shrimp, sometimes pastitsio, sometimes chicken.
By design, Karakasis starts with frozen fish to make large trays of baked fish. Melted butter and lemon juice freeze when poured onto the frozen filets. While the fish bakes, the flavors soak into the fish instead of dripping off into the pan.
During the four-day Greek Fest, families show up in droves for live music, Greek dancers, special kids activities and tours of the church’s byzantine iconography — and the big attraction, traditional Greek food. Karakasis says that the lamb shanks, shish kebabs and Greek salads are good choices for first-time guests, so are pastries handmade by the women of the church, especially the baklava, sweet with honey. He says, “The food always exceeds people’s expectations. Come hungry because I guarantee, you won’t leave hungry.”
The church’s fish goes “on holiday” for Greek Fest but will return for weekly Friday luncheons on June 5.
Special Request is written by Town and Country resident Alanna Kellogg, author of the online recipe column KitchenParade.com and “veggie evangelist” at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.
Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church
1755 Des Peres Road, Town and Country