BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For years, some of Birmingham’s most beloved restaurants have been run by Greek families.
Now, their stories are being shared in a new documentary that will premiere this weekend through the Southern Foodways Alliance’s virtual symposium.
The film, “Philoxenia,” was shot by Jessica Chriesman, a filmmaker from Homewood who graduated from UAB in 2015. The documentary, whose names means “friend of a stranger” in Greek, explores different restaurants in the city that have a Greek connection, from Ted’s Restaurant to Demetri’s BBQ, Johnny’s Restaurant, The Bright Star, The Fish Market and Gus’s Hot Dogs.
“I am so excited to highlight Birmingham’s hidden history of Greek restaurateurs in this film,” Chriesman said in a written statement. “Birmingham’s Greek immigrants have shaped the hospitality industry in our city, and I am proud to share this legacy through the Southern Foodways Alliance’s platform.”
Sam Nakos, owner of Demetri’s BBQ, said he was happy to pay tribute to the Greek culture that shaped and molded his life.
“Memories of my family and the Greek experience meant so much to me,” Nakos said in a statement. “As I was being interviewed, I was proud to mention other Greek restauranteurs who have overcome the difficulty of persevering in their family business.”
“Philoxenia” will premiere at 2 p.m. Sunday through the Southern Foodways Alliance website. Tickets are $75 each, which will include access to the two-day symposium, as well as access to other films and question and answer forums with filmmakers like Chriesman, Roni Henderson Day, Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich, Tamika Galanis, Paavo Hanninen, Devon “Vonnie Quest” Smith, and Colleen Thurston.
A full list of events can be found here.