The Greek Family Feast at Blue Olive Greek Taverna, $60 for four peopleBlue Olive’s family feast started out as a special during the early days of the pandemic. It borrowed from old traditions to solve a new problem: people couldn’t gather in restaurants but still wanted to be together.
“Back before the whole Covid thing, the Greek tradition is communal eating, everyone kind of eats together versus individual dishes,” says Jimmy Zelios, owner of Blue Olive Greek Taverna at 6196 Quinpool Road. “There’s a plate of potatoes, a plate of meat, a plate of salad, everyone takes as much or as little as we want.”
The restaurant decided to take that idea and put in on the menu as a meal for either two people ($30) or four people ($60). Thus was born The Greek Family Feast.
The feast’s main course is one of four options, the most popular being a mouthwatering moussaka. “The moussaka is layers of grilled eggplant, potato, beef sauce and topped with bechamel, and then it’s baked in the oven,” says Zelios. And it’s available in a vegetarian option, subbing the meat sauce for tomato sauce and roasted zucchini.
Unsurprisingly, every family has their own spin on the classic Greek dish. “Our meat sauce is a little bit different than other families' recipes for example,” Zelios tells The Coast. “I find our bechamel is a little bit lighter, we don’t add any nutmeg or cinnamon like some people do, kind of keep it light and airy.”
As well as the mains, all family feasts come with sides of lemony oven-roasted potatoes, rice and Greek salad. For dessert, choose between baklava and rice pudding.
The value of eating together
Zelios says that the family feast was inspired by the goal of bringing people together when they could only dine with a select few. “We said during this Covid thing we’re at home more, it’s family time, why don’t we kind of spin it off into a family night.”
It didn’t take long to get the idea up and running. Zelios says when the first lockdown happened, “it basically started the next day.”
The family-style dining—which comes in one big take-out container as well—offers the dishes that were some of the most popular menu items pre-pandemic. “It’s kind of stick-to-your-ribs type of meals, you know what I mean?”
Blue Olive had to adapt to prioritizing take-out more than before. But Zelios says it wasn’t as difficult as it could’ve been.
“We had take-out and delivery before the pandemic, so we had the infrastructure in place, we had drivers, we had the software and that kind of thing all ready to go pretty easily, it wasn’t a big transition for us,” he says. “The only thing is we had to start promoting ourselves a little more and let people know that we’re doing takeout and delivery, and it floated us through Covid pretty well.”
The family feast is available from Monday through Wednesday, from noon to 9pm. Orders can be placed by calling Blue Olive directly at 902-407-3000, or online at blueolivegreektaverna.com.