O Typografos – Meze Artisanal
An Interview with Chef Andreas Eftaxias
O Typografos – The Printer – once an old print shop, is now an artisanal meze restaurant, serving delicious traditional food to the hungry crowds of Metaxourgeio.
Set among Kolonos, Kerameikos, and Gazi the Metaxourgeio area had been a thriving working-class neighborhood during Athens’ dramatic growth in the late 19th and early 20th century, housing many craft shops, trade shops, and other small businesses.
One of these businesses was the printing shop of Achilles Eftaxias. In the course of the past few years when renovation projects and infrastructure rebuilding attracted new businesses like bars and restaurants to the area, Andreas Eftaxias, Achilles’ son, dreamed of using the space to continue family history without type cases and printing blocks but with pots and pans instead! His dream came true in November 2018, and since then The Printer, an artisanal meze restaurant, has been serving authentic traditional food to the hungry crowds of Metaxourgeio.
Your restaurant space has a cool story behind it. Please share how and why it inspired you to repurpose it.
The Printer (O Typografos) took its name from my father’s old printing shop, housed in this very place since 1977. It had been a dream of mine to open a restaurant that would serve homemade, authentic traditional food, and this space, as well as the overall Metaxourgeio area, have a very particular feeling about them. It’s the atmosphere, the aesthetics, or some other kind of magic that can take you back to old-time Greece, so what better place would there be for me to use?
Food trends come and go but, nowadays more than ever, the need for healthy, nutritious, wholesome food is a constant given. What were the factors you took into account when creating menus for the Printer?
The restaurant was set up with great love and care, and our menu relies on Greek traditional recipes. Our food is made with excellent ingredients, bought from small Greek producers, to ensure freshness and quality. Meat, vegetables, and fish are also carefully selected by our people every single day.
Speaking of healthy eating habits, what is the one thing you always avoid ordering on a menu? What is one food we should all eat more of in 2019?
Although I’m a fish lover, it is not part of my choices when we go out to dinner since it’s a special, sensitive product that needs to be handled with extra care when it comes to both its maintenance and cooking. That said, it’s a highly nutritional food, that we should all include in our diets and several restaurants are treating it the right way like our place does. You will indeed find the best kind of fish at the Printer, which is the fresh kind!
What dish are you bored of cooking or seeing on menus? Which do you consider the most overrated recent food trend?
Before the Printer, I was actually bored of… not being able to cook properly—you see, frozen or readymade mixes are a sad staple in many food places. And that’s the one thing that I happily don’t allow here, at the Printer’s kitchen. Food trends serve a purpose and are certainly not the devil, but sometimes things get a little silly. For example, the traditional “revithokeftedes” is a rustic, humble island recipe that hadn’t always been popular with our customers. They only became trendy when we called them by their counter name, falafel, and we truly wonder why.
Any early food memories? How can we get kids to eat healthier?
My fondest childhood memories revolve around the flavors and Greek aromas of fresh fruit and vegetables. We can get our kids to eat healthier if we lead by example. As a father of three (I have two 2-month old boys and a 2-½ year old one) I know they need, early on, to be able to watch us cook and eat healthy ourselves.
What is the biggest thing you would change about most people’s kitchens?
I think I would like people to add a secret ingredient, the most precious ingredient of all, that tends to get overlooked in the daily grind—love. Love will make all your food delicious!