When Anthos Greek Bakery and Café debuts in Castle Shannon this week, customers will see that the renovated space is a lot like its proprietors. “It’s bright and open and welcoming to everybody,” co-owner Ellie Kousouli says.
The roots of Anthos, which means blossom, are in Athens, but the business was written in the stars.
Siblings Tassos and Jo Fragkou, and their longtime friend Kousouli, grew up in the ancient city and moved to the Big Apple to pursue careers in finance, television and fashion design, respectively.
Tasso Fragkou and Kousouli eventually got hitched and Jo Fragkou married Devin Atchley, an American baker who was working at Amy’s Bread, a Hell’s Kitchen institution that supplies high-end restaurants in New York City.
The Fragkous had friends in Pittsburgh and Kousouli’s father ran a food service operation here in the 1960s, which gave them a built-in community when they moved to the Mt. Lebanon area.
In 2020, they opened Anthos Foods, an online marketplace to share artisan products from their homeland, including olive oil, jam and honey.
Plans for a brick-and-mortar bakery were delayed due to the pandemic, so the family has been whipping up Anthos goods at Fulton Commons, a Manchester kitchen incubator, and selling them a local farmers’ markets. The storefront is expected to open this week.
In addition to offering traditional Greek pastries and other baked goods (Atchley worked at Mediterra Bakehouse for years), Anthos will serve coffee from Brooklyn-based Devoción, billed as the only company in the world that roasts beans only 10 days after they leave Colombia. Anthos will be the only place in Pittsburgh selling the coffee.
Atchley’s best friend, chef Corey Preston, is on board to offer an extensive brunch menu featuring European salads, soups, pitas, Mediterranean dishes and options for vegans, vegetarians and diners on a gluten-free diet. Offerings will be made with imported as well as fresh, local ingredients. Patrons can stock up on some of those products as well.
The café at 3803 Willow Ave. will have seating for 40, including a few outdoor tables in the back, and will also offer takeout and delivery.
“Each of us brings our own talents to the table,” Jo Fragkou says. “Food and family and love are our common ties.”