Can Crab Cakes Help Put the Greeks Back in Greektown?

The crab cakes at Estiatorio Plaka, which is owned by G&M Restaurant co-owner John Zoulis. (Christina Tkacik)

In the heart of Baltimore's Greektown, a culinary transformation is underway, blending Maryland's seafood heritage with the flavours of Greece. Restaurateur John Zoulis, known for his iconic crab cakes at G&M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights, has brought his expertise to Estiatorio Plaka Greek Restaurant & Bakery, aiming to revitalize the neighbourhood's Greek identity.

"When we acquired G&M in 1993, we knew we had to perfect the crab cakes," Zoulis explained. Customer feedback played a crucial role in refining the recipe, ensuring it became a local favourite alongside renowned spots like Faidley's and Pappas. Now, with Estiatorio Plaka, Zoulis has expanded his culinary empire, offering oversized crab cakes reminiscent of those at G&M.

While Plaka's menu celebrates Greek cuisine, the inclusion of crab cakes reflects Zoulis's vision to appeal to a broader audience while honouring Maryland's culinary traditions. Available in various forms, from crab balls to sandwiches and hearty entrees, the demand for these crab delicacies has been significant.

The mixed grill pikilia at Estiatorio Plaka, which opened last year in Baltimore’s historic Greektown. (Christina Tkacik)

Yet, Plaka's opening in 2023 was about more than just introducing a new restaurant. Zoulis aimed to spark a revitalization of Greektown, hoping to inspire others to invest in Greek-owned businesses. However, this ambition comes amidst a shifting landscape, with the closure of longstanding establishments like Ikaros Restaurant, an iconic Greektown fixture since 1969.

The shuttering of Ikaros underscores the challenges facing Greektown as the neighbourhood grapples with evolving demographics and economic pressures. Zoulis lamented the closure, emphasizing the importance of preserving Greek culinary heritage in the community.

As Estiatorio Plaka continues to draw patrons with its blend of Greek and Maryland flavours, Zoulis remains committed to his vision of restoring Greektown's identity, one crab cake at a time.

4718 Eastern Ave

Baltimore, MD 21224

[email protected]

TEL: 443.833.0330

Store Hours

The Bakery Opens at 9 am

Sun - Thurs: 11 am-9 pm

Fri - Sat: 11 am-10 pm

Source: The Baltimore Banner

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