Greek grocery in Matthews is a well-kept secret

Tom HanchettSerafim_Makas
Psst, want to buy some feta cheese?

Hidden away behind a couple of nondescript office buildings on Monroe Road near Highway 51 is what our family calls “the secret Greek grocery.’ A white door beckons in a blank cinder-block wall. Duck inside and you are in Minos Imported Foods.

Serafim Makas arrived here 15 years ago from Long Island to start a wholesale grocery serving Charlotte’s big Greek population. “There’s about 30,000 of us within an hour’s drive,” he estimates.

Greek families have traditionally run many Charlotte restaurants. In fact, most old-line “Southern” eateries here have Greeks behind the cash register — the South 21 Drive-ins, the Landmark on Central Avenue, John’s Country Kitchen in Plaza Midwood, BBQ King on Wilkinson Boulevard. But Greek grocery stores have been rare.

“Most of my food comes straight from Greece,” says Makas. “We deliver to restaurants across the Carolinas, that’s our real business. But since I’m here anyway, I thought, ‘Why not open to the public, retail’?”

Shelves hold canned grape leaves, halva candy, packages of figs (“new crop Greek”). Bulk bins offer kalamata olives, oils, spices. Hand-lettered cardboard signs list products in the walk-in refrigerated room: fillo dough, tzatziki sauce, kasseri cheese, manouri cheese, haloumi cheese.

And that feta. “From sheep’s milk, not cow’s milk like American feta,” Makas says proudly. “Shipped from Greece, aged in wooden barrels.”

Sure enough, he dips into a brine-filled barrel with a broad bladed knife and slices a sample. Salty, creamy, like Mediterranean sunshine in your mouth.

Minos Imported Foods, Inc.
8am – 7pm Monday – Saturday

11016 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC 28105
(704) 841 – 2808

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