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John Tsahiridis prepares the restaurant about an hour before opening on Thursday.
John Tsahiridis prepares the restaurant about an hour before opening on Thursday.

Greek Belly opens after delays

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Greek Belly LLC opened downtown today after multiple delays.

Owner John Tsahiridis, former general manager of Galloway Station Bar & Grill, this morning cited delayed building inspections that resulted in general contractor Nesbitt Construction Inc. starting infill work in late February at the 320 E. Walnut St. restaurant. Tsahiridis previously targeted a spring 2017 opening, and he had multiple dates set this year that did not come to fruition, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting and Greek Belly Facebook posts.

Tsahiridis said converting the former Albatross Hookah Lounge & Fine Tobacco Emporium into a restaurant proved challenging.

“I’m just so busy. My emotions have been on hold,” Tsahiridis said of opening the restaurant after more than a year of delays.

Employees, including Tsahiridis, were busy this morning moving tables and setting up food stations ahead of an 11 a.m. opening at the 2,000-square-foot space. Tsahiridis said Greek Belly held a soft opening on Tuesday night.

Tsahiridis on June 30 wrote in a Facebook post that Greek Belly received its food service permit from the city of Springfield.

Building permits with the city also list Jack Ball Architects PC President Chris Ball and LaRose & Schober Engineering President Joe LaRose as participants in the renovation project. Tsahiridis previously declined to disclose investment costs in the venture.

Tsahiridis, who has 25 years of industry experience, worked at Galloway Station for 14 years before exiting last summer to launch Greek Belly. The venture has operated at festivals and through catering as officials worked to get the brick-and-mortar shop open.

Greek Belly’s menu includes gyros, hummus, falafel and other fast-casual options.

At 320 E. Walnut St., Tsahiridis signed a five-year lease last year for undisclosed terms with building owner Nick Sibley.


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