Akrotiri officially opened on March 15 at 29-20 30th Ave. The restaurant, which is owned by Chris Kouvaros, is named after an ancient Greek city on the island of Santorini that was buried in volcanic ash. Poulmentis, who is from the island of Kythira, grew up working in restaurants and received a degree in culinary arts. To round out his culinary education, he spent 15 years traveling through France, England, and Italy learning different cooking and pastry techniques.
After his travels, he came back to Greece, where he operated a restaurant in Kythira. But in 2012, he moved his family to Astoria after the country began experiencing economic difficulties.
“I started working and went back to [being a] line cook until I proved myself,” he said. He certainly proved himself when, in 2012, he was chosen to cook a meal at the White House for Greek Independence Day.
“It was a crazy experience,” Poulmentis said. “It was cool, I have photos with the dog [Bo]. [Former Vice President Joe] Biden was coming in the kitchen. I had a very nice time.”
“I [spoke] with Chris [and explained] this is what I’m trying to do with food and I wanted to it to be natural, new recipes, new items,” he said.
The unique menu items include volvi, an appetizer of baby pickled onions flown in from Crete, htapo
“I took recipes from all over Greece and I made them smaller and infused them together [to] marry the south and the north of Greece,” he said. Poulmentis takes pride in his ingredients, which he says are “selected daily” and “high quality.”
“What I want [diners] to know is that the food they are eating is super fresh and unique,” he said.