Greeks are particular about feta, phyllo and olives. Sure, these items are available at most Charlotte grocery stores, but often the highest quality or variety is not.
A few months ago, the Agora Greek Market relocated from a small building behind Liberty East Restaurant to the real estate fronting Independence Boulevard. Some think this is a new store, but owners Steve Mavroidis, his cousin, Nick, and uncle, Pete, Marinakos say the family first opened a small store within their restaurant supply company, Independent Wholesale, 20 years ago. The family also owns Liberty East and the surrounding real estate. With the ongoing construction of Independence Boulevard, the owners lost their tenant, which prompted the move and expansion of their store.
Of particular note at Agora are the different brands of Greek coffees. Coffee is part of the social culture in Greece, and the coffee consumed is not the same as the Turkish blend. Equally popular is the Kyknos (Swan) brand of tomato paste.
Agora has a variety of cheeses, including a first-rate, had-it-in-Crete styled, barrel-aged feta sold with brine for $7.50 a pound. In the freezer section is phyllo available in sizes 4 (ultra-thin); 5 (used for spanakopita and tyropita); 7 (thick, used in fried appetizers); and the hardest to find 10 (needed for strudels). What is unique about this selection is the variety of brands made in Greece. Kataïfi dough (shredded phyllo) is also available. Nearby in the freezer section are spanakopita and tyropita, also made in Greece. New to Agora is the olive bar, which includes an upmarket kalamata olive selection.
Agora Greek Market, 5122 E. Independence Blvd., 704-569-2301. Hours: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: [email protected] or 704-522-8334, extension 136.