While Greek restaurants seem to be opening every other month, it’s fair to say Jody Adams will carve out a corner of the trend for herself when Saloniki opens this month in the shadow of Fenway Park. That’s because Saloniki will be a fast-casual Greek sandwich shop, where diners can order at the counter before grabbing their grub and finding a spot at one of the 60 indoor seats or on the 45-seat patio.
“We feel like this is a unique approach, where a chef who has been working in fine dining is in the kitchen, building a menu for a restaurant like this,” says Adams, who’s opening the restaurant with partners Jonathan Mendez and Eric Papachristos. “To think that we can always bring beautiful, fresh, delicious, approachable price-points to a huge population is really exciting.”
Customers can choose from fillings such as braised pork, lemon chicken, lamb meatballs or zucchini-feta fritters. They’re served on a housemade pita, greens or brown rice and finished with tzatziki, garlic yogurt, whipped feta, spicy pickled slaw, charred eggplant tomato or roasted red pepper-sesame sauce. The menu will also feature a white bean soup, an herb salad and Greek yogurt with lemon curd, honey or fig jam. Beverage offerings include an exclusive Harpoon brew and two Greek wines. “We want to give people lots of options and the ability to either choose our classics or build your own,” Adams says. “It’s traditional Greek flavors. Big, bold, balanced, bright flavors with lemon, garlic, olive oil, yogurt, feta.”
The initial concept came from Papachristos, who grew up in Thessaloniki, the city that’s the restaurant’s namesake. After he and Mendez convinced Adams to partner with them, she started testing dishes on Papachristos’ parents. And though she had traveled to Greece several times before, Adams made her first trip to Thessaloniki to see how her fare compared. “I built the menu, we tested the menu, and then we went on a trip to Thessaloniki,” Adams says. “I was really happy to find my ideas played out over there.”
Saloniki has been in the works for about three years, and in that time Adams has seen the Greek dining scene expand exponentially in Boston—but she’s confident there’s plenty of room in the market for her Fenway sandwich shop. She recalls Michael Schlow, who has since opened his own Greek spot, Doretta Taverna, asking to meet less than a year ago. “He said, ‘I hear you guys are opening a Greek restaurant. What are you guys thinking of?’ ” she says. “Fortunately, we were thinking of two completely different approaches to Greek food. And Jon [Mendez] has been thinking about this for a long time.”
Saloniki 4 Kilmarnock St., Boston (617-266-0001) salonikigreek.com