Greek Festival drive-thru items selling fast, organizers say

Online orders being taken now for the September event

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Dayton’s Greek Festival is one of my very favorites to look forward to during fall.

It’s almost always the first clean crisp I feel in the air, the food is homemade and outstanding, the location is picturesque, and I fall in love with the special cultural experiences all over again each year.

In early July, organizers announced that they will not be holding a traditional festival, but doing a drive-thru again, just as they did in 2020.

“It was a difficult decision to move forward with a drive-thru this year. We were so excited and ready to have a full festival. Typically our festival committees begin planning the following year’s festival shortly after the current festival ends, so the timing was off a bit. We simply didn’t have adequate time to move toward a full festival,” said Deb Pulos, PR and marketing committee chair, who has been a volunteer with the festival for over 30 years.

“Potential supply chain issues for many of the delicacies and favorites the community has come to love began to surface,” Pulos said. “We count on thousands of volunteer hours to prepare and work the festival so staffing was a bit of a concern. I think in the end we just were not confident we could do everything we wanted to do. We had three very successful drive-thru events last year. We know people will want our food and we are going to do our best to fulfill those wants. Next year we plan on sharing culture, music and all of the other aspects our festival is known for.”

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Pulos says online orders will be taken until 5 p.m. on Sept. 12 for the pick-up event, provided they don’t sell out. She shared that several items could sell out soon, if not already.

“We will not oversell on any particular hour to avoid traffic back up,” said Pulos. “Last year we were newbies, we listened to our patrons and our parishioners. Our lines last September were long. We didn’t control our ordering process as much as we should have on the first day. We learned, big time. We have a great core group of people who know software, have a ton of energy and are willing to listen to those with experience to make things better.”

Orders for pick-up on Sept. 10, 11 and 12 can be made at Pick the pick-up day and time slot and place your order. There will be no walk-ups and no on-site sales.

“We will lock out a time frame once we are at capacity for that hour,” said Pulos. “We suggest you place your order early to ensure you get what you would like at the time you would like it.”

Greek pastries like including baklava, kourambiethes (traditional Greek butter cookie), amigdalota (almond cookie), melomakarona (Greek honey walnut cookie) and koulourias (a buttery twisted shortbread cookie) are expected to be popular, as will the frozen items. My personal favorite, dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice, beef and pork then shaped into little rolls) are also expected to sell out.

Pulos says, based on sales, their $20 Souvlaki Dinner featuring two pork souvlaki skewers served over savory sauced rice pilaf with Greek-style green beans, a small Greek salad and pita bread will likely be the first sell-out item on the menu, so get it while you can.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Last year my husband and I purchased frozen pastitsio ($55 for a half-pan that serves 9-12), a rich Greek lasagna-like entree that relies on a béchamel cream sauce to deliver the dairy, as well as frozen dolmathes (24 for $30) and used them for dinners when we were short on time. It was quite the treat that we looked forward to.

As with previous drive-thru food events they will be offering a $15 variety pack of seven Greek pastries, which is a great deal and a good way to sample.

Pulos says they will only do about a third of the business they normally do with the festival.

“There is a significant difference in food prep and the financials. We rely heavily on our regular festival to offset operating expenses.

“So if our revenue is down, we cut back within our parish. For instance, staffing is tight. We are relying on our own parishioners to do so many things now. People are happy to do it, but we have a commercial building that needs constant attention, along with all of our property and our beautiful church,” said Pulos. “We are like everyone else, and want to get back to the business of living and celebrating life. For our parish, it’s very difficult not to sing, dance ... we ask our patrons and all of Dayton to support our drive-thru again this year and we hope to be back better than ever next year.”

With the 100th anniversary of the parish happening this year, our Greek community deserves Dayton rallying to celebrate.

“Apolamváno̱ zoe,” which means enjoy life in Greek. With food as good as this, it’s what you’re sure to be doing.

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Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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