On the Menu with The Greek Oven
Consider yourself warned.
“The bougatsa and the coffee, this is a perfect marriage,” smiles The Greek Oven chef Edgar Ayuso. “It goes well any time of the day. So be careful!!”
Bougatsa is a Greek pastry, featuring sweet custard between layers of filo, dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. It’s one of many traditional treats baked fresh daily by co-owner and trained chef Santuzza Kapsalis.
And the barista offerings go beyond coffee, with items like a Freddo cappucino, a very special Greek expresso creation.
Whether it’s drinks or food, breakfast (served all day!), lunch, or dinner (available Friday, Saturday and Sunday), the kitchen staff works with top ingredients and takes the time to craft it right, from scratch. They make their own veggie patties, dressings, sauces, pastries and more.
Their olive oil, for instance, is from the Kalamata region of Greece, and their oregano comes from their backyard…no, not upcountry, but at their family’s home on the Greek island of Aegina!
“Quality is the most important thing,” explains Ayuso. “If you have good ingredients, you’re going to have good food. And, attitude to make your food; if you are happy making it, your food is going to come out very happy.”
Happy food includes the gyro pita, with lamb roasted for four hours; the spanakopita with spinach, feta and herbs baked filo pastry; and moussaka with potato, eggplant and meat (or lentils as a vegan option), which takes three days to make.
Since moving to Maui, owners Adonis and Santuzza Kapsalis have worked countless hours to get The Greek Oven off the ground at 810 Kokomo Road in Ha‘ikū and keep it running smoothly.
“We cannot measure the actual hours that we spent weekly,” says Adonis Kapsalis, originally from Greece, “because it became our life, our hobby, our day out, our night out, our morning out, our breakfast, our lunch, our dinner, everything!”
Santuzza is Brazilian, but lived in Greece and shares a passion for the food and culture. The Greek-based photos, magazines, gifts and decor open up plenty of conversation points with customers.
“Everybody look at the pictures: ‘Oh where is this island?'” she says. “So we’re really happy to share what we know about Greece with the people who come here.”
The Greek Oven even delved into the catering scene early on, as the sole food vendor during the Celestial Cinema night at Maui Film Festival in June.
“It was really hard work, very busy, we sold a lot of food,” recalls Adonis. “We made many people happy, and we had many people come back because they went there.”
After getting a taste of catering, the couple wants more of it, and they are also looking to grow beyond one restaurant location, possibly even going mobile.
“We want to expand, we want to do more catering, to fill in the summer months that are pretty slow on the North shore with more catering jobs,” says Adonis. “Maybe get a second location in the South, or maybe even a food truck, to Kīhei, Lāhainā, where there’s tourism even in the summer.”
The work days are long, but both Adonis and Santuzza says there’s plenty of laughter with their dedicated team of employees.
“We put 100% and the hours are beyond whatever we’ve done before in our life,” Adonis explains. “But we have to say a big thank you to the staff we have here; without them, it could not be possible.”