This Bishop Arts restaurant serves Greek classics
They met at a Greek club in New Orleans. He was the singer of the group. She was watching from the audience. As soon as he saw her, amazed, he let go of the microphone.
This is the origin story of Mary Ann and Emmanuel Tatakis, according to their daughter, Joanna Tatakis.
Eventually, the Tatakis family opened Greek Cafe & Bakery in Duncanville, where Joanna grew up. Mary Ann’s father had a restaurant in Connecticut, but they moved to Oak Cliff when she was a child. Emmanuel had the greatest experience in the restaurant business. When he moved to Chicago from Greece, he didn’t speak English very well. The first restaurant he entered was owned by a Greek family, and they gave him a job. He worked there for a while before moving to another restaurant.
“I was planning to go to college and do whatever it takes to find myself,” Tatakis says. “But it didn’t turn out that way. And my parents opened a restaurant, and I decided to stay and help. And then I just fell in love with it.
They kept this place until shortly after opening a location at Bishop Arts in 2009. Tatakis says it was his mother’s dream, who grew up in Oak Cliff and died in 2013, to have a restaurant there. They were starting to give up looking for a space, but Mary Ann knew as soon as she walked into the West Davis apartment building that they had found it. She was drawn to the welcoming community and the growth potential of the neighborhood.
Tatakis began to serve tables and learn from his mother, who was “an incredibly social person”. Even after Mary Ann died, customers came to the restaurant to share stories of their interactions with her mother.
One day Tatakis’ father decided that she had to work in the kitchen. “He’s very strict on how to do things. He taught me everything, ”says Tatakis. “I think I’ve mastered something, and he would say, ‘What are you doing? You don’t do it that way.
Now she manages the daily operations of the restaurant, which is open for take out and delivery. His father also comes every day, which he couldn’t do during the pandemic.
“He can supervise me and tell me what I’m doing right and wrong – 80% right, 20% wrong,” she says.