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Salonika Imports > Food from the motherland of Greece January 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.

Add Chris Balouris, a business grad from Carnegie Mellon University, to the list. He is the owner of Salonika Imports in the 3500 block of Smallman Street. He spent almost a dozen years climbing corporate ladders but always had a soft spot for the food business.

“I grew up in my parents’ restaurant in Bellevue. I’ve always loved working with food, but I didn’t want to be in the restaurant business,” says Chris, whose family has a Greek background. “I see Salonika not only as a livelihood, but as an opportunity to teach about my heritage and be a part of the world I love.”

The bulk of Balouris’ operation, which he bought not quite a year ago, is the importing and wholesale nationwide distribution of Greek and other Mediterranean foods. The retail shop out front is almost an afterthought. But that’s where the goodies are. He stocks the tiny shop with Greek feta cheeses, yogurts, jarred spreads and toasts to spread them on, olive oils and imported meats and candies.

“I love to talk with my customers to get the pulse on the street. I’m growing the retail business with a line of gift baskets and an improved Web site.”

Greek Olives platter.  From bottom center clockwise > oil-cured black olives, Kalamata olives, green cracked olives, Chios olives and black Greek olives.

Salonika Imports, 412-682-2700 or www.salonika.net 

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