History of Mykonos Greek Restaurant
Established in 1981, Mykonos Greek Restaurant has grown to become a leader in traditional Greek Cuisine
Owner Dimitrios "Jimmy" Merageas was born in Sparta, Greece. Growing up and watching his grandmother and mother cook delicious authentic Greek food in their tiny little taverna, Jimmy was always eager to help. But, school was a priority and in 1972, Jimmy packed up his bags and moved to Chicago, Illinois, to get an American education.
His first few years in the United States were rough. He attended school during the day and worked hard in various Greektown restaurants in the evenings to attain the American dream. At that point he realized that his passion was to explore, discover, and create the best Greek cuisine ever.
He returned to Greece and with much perseverance he had the unique opportunity to assist and learn from some of the greatest chefs of Athens. He brought back all his newly acquired knowledge to the United States, and luckily a break came through. He stumbled upon a small, local ethnic restaurant in Niles, Illinois, and quickly became the head chef.
After a short time later, the restaurant was up for sale. He jumped at the opportunity and bought the place. He immediately changed the name and tweaked the cuisine to make it more traditional. Mykonos Greek Restaurant first opened its doors in October 1981. Jimmy decided to call his restaurant Mykonos after the beautiful island of Mykonos in Greece, which was one of his favorite places to visit as a child. Through the years, the restaurant and the menu have expanded.
In 1983, Jimmy had an ingenious idea of bringing the outdoor atmosphere of the Greek isles to the Chicagoland area. He designed and built one of the first outdoor eating areas in the state of Illinois. The concept stuck and people loved it! Jimmy worked harder and harder to make his restaurant gain a world-renowned status in Greek cuisine and in the Greek restaurant community.
In 1987, Jimmy met the love of his life and decided to start a family. His wife, Athena, and all three of their children, Peter, Renee, and Madeline, are very enthusiastic about Mykonos. They have helped evolve recipes to include organic meats and vegetables and also to offer gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan foods without losing traditional flavors.
After visiting Greece in 2010, Jimmy and his family brought yet another idea back to Niles, a retractable roof for the beautiful outdoor dining area. One of the first of its kind, the retractable roof is a huge success. Jimmy, his wife, and the rest of the Merageas family continue to work their hardest to maintain a cutting edge, yet, traditional atmosphere at Mykonos Greek Restaurant.
Only time will tell what the Merageas family has in store next!