GREENFIELD – Dimitrios Andriopoulos’ eyes lit up between the drive-thru headset he wore as he talked about his line of work.
“It’s not just feeding the people,” he said as Greek music played and diners continued trickling into his restaurant in the middle of the afternoon following the lunch rush. “It’s like a way of expressing feelings, when you feed them. They come – they might be tired, they might have a bad day – [but] people are eating, they might get a good feeling.”
The Greek native recently opened Gyros Grill at 1749 Melody Lane on the south end of Melody Plaza off State Street in Greenfield. The menu on the wall is packed with gyros, hot dogs, barbecue, burgers, wraps, hand-breaded chicken and fish meals, and more. The business hopes to eventually add homemade Greek dishes as well.
Andriopoulos works at the restaurant with his siblings, with whom he grew up in Greece. He said he’s been working in restaurants since he was 16 with his brother, adding his uncles had eateries.
“So we know the food industry very well, because we’ve worked in it since we were young,” he said.
Andriopoulos came to visit a friend in northern Indiana years ago, and ended up liking it so much that he stayed. He was drawn to its wide open green spaces and the welcoming nature of its people, which reminded him of those in his homeland.
“Here in the Midwest, I find that we have a lot in common,” he said.
Along with his new state, he quickly grew fond of his new nation as well.
“In the United States – you think of something, you put your body to work, and you can make it,” he said. “And there’s a lot of things you can make it in here. It gives you the opportunity, that’s for sure.”
In northern Indiana, he started working for a restaurant owned by Greenfield-based Pride Investment Partners. Then he got the opportunity to run the Gas Grill Family Restaurant in Knightstown also owned by the firm.
He’s been fond of Greenfield for about 20 years and had always wanted to open a restaurant in the city, but spots with a drive-thru were hard to come by.
Pride Investment Partners owns Melody Plaza as well, which completed development in recent years. When Andriopoulos learned it had a space that would accommodate a drive-thru, he jumped at the opportunity.
Before opening, he and his colleagues went to Greenfield businesses between I-70 and downtown giving away about 500 gyros.
“That’s a good way of telling – ‘Here we are,’” he said. “Before we even take something, we give. It’s an amazing feeling to give before you take.”
Business has been booming since the restaurant opened its doors, Andriopoulos said.
“People are very, very welcoming,” he said. “Very welcoming. Amazing. They get the feeling that we love people.”
In a way, it’s yet another reminder of the residents in his native Greece.
“If you go to my village, the people will not know you there, but there will be so many houses – they open the door for you and they open even the refrigerator and say, ‘What do you want? Sit down, eat! Everybody will be like that. That’s how they are in my village. That’s how I grew up.”
Behind the counter at Gyros Grill span two murals painted by Miso Zlovic. For one, the Indianapolis-area muralist depicted cooks shaving meat off rotisseries in a busy kitchen.
“You see this real moment of working life,” Zlovic said back in February while taking a break from painting.
The other mural shows the results of that working life – a family enjoying a meal outdoors.
“I think this is like a complete story in one piece,” Zlovic added.
He hopes his works will provide a feast for diners’ eyes as well.
“People will like to come here, enjoy food, but also discuss art,” he said.
While Gyros Grill was his first project in Greenfield, Zlovic has painted about 80 murals, many of them large, in and around Indianapolis over the past 30 years.
He’s originally from Yugoslavia, where he taught history, and moved to Germany in the 1990s, where he started painting professionally.
His skills are self-taught.
“It’s something which is deep inside me,” he said. “And it’s a gift from God.”
Gyros Grill is hiring for all positions, and those interested are encouraged to apply within.
1749 Melody Lane, Greenfield
10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday