Two brothers,
a scooter and
a grandma

Grégory & Pierre-Julien Chantzios are the ones behind Greek restaurant Yaya.

Starred chef Juan Arbelaez’s take on pita bread baked with olive oil.

Starred chef Juan Arbelaez’s take on pita bread baked with olive oil.

Starred chef Juan Arbelaez’s take on pita bread baked with olive oil.

There’s nothing like a beautiful story for energizing a new project. Like the restaurant opened recently by two entrepreneurs, inspired by their Greek grandma, Yaya.

Pierre-Julien and Grégory Chantzios founded Kalios in 2009. With only a scooter and some chutzpah, and no prearranged meetings, they managed to win over both savvy chefs (Yannick Alléno, Pascal Barbot, Anne-Sophie Pic, Troisgros, Christophe Aribert, Éric Guérin and others) and upscale specialty food shops. All have adopted Kalios olive oil for its purity and flavor (low acidity, not too bitter, intense). In 2010, the two brothers took over the operations of their grandmother’s olive grove in Kalamata, Greece, in what looked like an obvious move. After acquiring a magnificent space north of Paris, they embarked on another venture: a restaurant named Yaya. To help them out, another starred chef, Juan Arbelaez (from Nubé in the Hôtel Marignan in Paris), joined the project. With this crew, Greek cuisine, which has become something of a clichéthe paradox of a laid-back culinary tradition unconcerned with famewill be able to shine. It merely has to take the form of dishes like homemade pita bread baked with olive oil, mezze just like those in the village, a shared plate of pikilia (an assortment of fish and meat), a genuine Yaya-style Greek salad, marinated octopus, lentil and feta salad, Greek yogurt with mountain honey, portokalopita (cake made with oranges from Kalamata), and chocolate with olive oil and smoked fleur de sel. According to Yaya, Greece is not just a country, but an entire world, complete with sister cities (Marseille, Naples, Messina, Istanbul, Alexandria) and the quiet confidence that moves along at its own pace.


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palmier, colette