Art on the Plate: Behind the Scenes at Estia
Owners: Catherine and Nick Markantonis
In what was once the Eastern Bank in the heart of Falmouth Center, Estia has made its home. From the outside, its bank bones are still there, but inside, guests are transported to a chic, Grecian paradise. The high ceilings in the bar and lounge area create an open, airy atmosphere. The state-of-the-art kitchen has taken over the former bank vault, and created plenty of space for the stone coal-fired pizza oven. Owners Catherine and Nick Markantonis started Estia to bring a taste of their heritage to Cape Cod.
As first generation Americans, the couple saw the lack of Grecian cuisine on the Cape as an opportunity. “There weren’t any Greek restaurants on Cape Cod. And when we opened our original location in Mashpee, we were pretty much the first that did authentic Greek,” says Nick. Authenticity has been the key to Estia’s success. Every Friday and Saturday night, live music flows through Estia, bringing the sounds of Greece to Falmouth. As important—and delicious—as the food is, the Markantonis’ other main goal is the feeling they want customers to walk away with. Named for the Greek goddess of the home and hearth, Hestia, it’s all about feeling welcomed and at home. “We’re selling hospitality—the Greek hospitality that you get if you were vacationing in Greece. We want them to walk away with the same feeling,” says Nick.
“We’re selling hospitality—the Greek hospitality that you get if you were vacationing in Greece. We want them to walk away with the same feeling.”
While the new look of the building is sure to draw attention, the real star of the show at Estia is the food, including their delicious signature salad dressing, made and bottled locally. Along with a menu chock full of classic Greek dishes like dolmades (beef and rice rolled into grape leaves), spanakopita (spinach, feta and scallions layered between flaky filo dough), and the grilled octopus (pictured here), Estia works in partnership with producers in Greece to bottle pure Greek olive oil, honey, and olives. The items are produced and bottled on the island of Crete, featuring Estia’s label, which helps customers bring that Greek feeling home.
“We want to serve the community,” says Nick. “We want people to come in here and get a great value and feel that they’re not just getting the food and the experience, but coming back with a real good feeling of Greek hospitality.”