Following the success of his restaurant, Chef Nikos Maheras and his partner decided to focus solely on direct-to-consumer sales of their dips. Unsure of how to proceed, they identified KitchenTown as a resource to help them through the transformation. We caught up with Carol, the head of sales and operations of MEZESsf to hear about their journey.
MEZES GREEK KITCHEN
The Greek word “mezes,” literally translated, means plates to share. Community has always been at the heart of the work that the MEZESsf founders do. In 2000, Chef Nikos Maheras opened his popular sit-down restaurant, Mezes Greek Kitchen in San Francisco. He had always been passionate about Greek food and wine and opened the restaurant to bring true Greek flavors to the Bay Area. The Chestnut Street restaurant was very popular with local customers, particularly the dips and fresh pita bread that the restaurant served. Reaching out to a larger audience has always been in the mind of Nikos, who tuned into the idea of growing a larger scale food making company by focusing on bringing their famous dips to customers outside the restaurant – while remaining faithful to ingredients and heritage.
COMING TO KITCHENTOWN
Nikos and Carol were drawn to KitchenTown for the community that they felt from the other makers, and they were impressed by the attention to detail in the facility – it was always clean and well-maintained, with separate rooms for gluten-free products and temperature control. KitchenTown offered them high-end industrial equipment and extensive storage space. These services made KitchenTown the logical choice for MEZESsf to begin scaling up.
MEZESSF AT KITCHENTOWN
As Nikos and Carol started their transition from a restaurant to a small food-making company, they found useful information both from KitchenTown’s formal offerings and from the informal community of makers. “KitchenTown’s community of makers provides us with invaluable opportunities, energy, and information,” Carol said. “We have been able to interact with the other makers, and learn from their successes and struggles.” Carol also cited KitchenTown’s office hours and networking events as great resources for small makers. The office hours have allowed MEZESsf to get “specific and practical advice from experts,” while the networking events have helped them connect with the right people to raise funds.
MEZESsf has already grown so much during their time at KitchenTown. They have increased their retail presence from 2 stores to 40 stores in the past 2 years, and they are now sold on Good Eggs as well. They’ve successfully transformed from a restaurant to a small food-making company, while continuing to bring true Greek flavors to their Bay Area community. We are honored to have played a role in their growth. We can’t wait to see what they do next!
Find MEZESsf products near you here!