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Pano, Nick and George

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Grecian Gyro

The Koulouris Family Celebrates 40 Years


Grecian Gyro, founded by Nick Koulouris, is celebrating 40 years as a staple in the Atlanta community this year. With $50 in his pocket, a dream in his heart, and his secret sauce recipe locked tightly in his head, Nick opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia, four decades ago to deliver the best gyros and Grecian fare to the Atlanta community and beyond.

Born and raised in Kalamata, Greece, Nick was the youngest of nine children and had a passion for cooking from a young age. In 1970, he joined the Greek military and served as a cook. After his time in the military, Nick immigrated to the United States in 1973, where he settled in Atlanta to be near his extended family. Chasing the American dream, Nick worked where he could, taking various jobs to save money to open his own restaurant one day. In 1982, he identified and filled a void for authentic Greek cuisine in the South Atlanta market by opening his first Grecian Gyro location as a one-man shop in Hapeville.

Over the years, the restaurant became a second home to the entire Koulouris family, including Nick's cousins, wife, and three children. From working the register to helping customers, Grecian Gyro truly became a family run business. In 2007, Nick's two sons, George and Pano, officially joined the family venture when they quit their day jobs to pursue their dream of making Grecian Gyro a generational business and continuing the family legacy by opening a second location. The Koulouris brothers have since grown the business to seven metro-Atlanta locations in Dunwoody, Forest Park, Johns Creek, Midtown, Snellville, and Tucker, joining the original Hapeville restaurant. In 2019, within Grecian Gyro's Tucker and Midtown locations, the brothers opened Izzy's European Ice Kréme, offering a Euro flair to the traditional soft serve featuring creamy Ice Kréme and Greek FroYo.

Grecian Gyro is best known for revolutionizing the Atlanta-style gyro trend. Decades ago, Nick created his signature gyro sauce and spice blend, which has set the restaurant apart. The tangy cream sauce blended with Mediterranean herbs and spices has become a customer staple. Grecian Gyro is home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Delta employees and layover patrons alike, milestone celebrations, and celebrity sightings. Patrons return day after day for the time-tested family recipes, classic flavors, and modern Mediterranean delights with cornerstone offerings such as handcrafted wraps with Nick's homemade Grecian sauce and salad dressing, crispy potatoes perfectly seasoned with their signature spice blends, vegetarian entrees, and baklava.

Staying true to their roots, the Koulouris family's philosophy has been built on the foundation that a good business starts with valuing culture, community, and employees. Each Grecian Gyro restaurant prioritizes giving back to its community through ongoing local efforts, including sponsoring various school and church initiatives, offering free holiday meals for those in need, and collecting supplies for humanitarian efforts. The Waterworks Greenspace in West Midtown has also been a passion project of the Grecian Gyro family for more than 10 years and George is a founding member of the Friends of Atlanta Waterworks Park. This neighborhood organization was formed to lobby the city to reopen the greenspace at the Waterworks facility on the Upper Westside.

In honor of their 40th anniversary, the Koulouris family will be celebrating with new menu items, community activities, and events throughout the entire year. For more information, visit or follow the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

"When I first started Grecian Gyro, I was just looking for an opportunity to support my family," says Nick Koulouris, founder of Grecian Gyro. "I never imagined that 40 years later, we'd still be here and growing. I'm very proud of what my sons, George and Pano, have built from where I started out."

"We are proud to be celebrating such a milestone in Hapeville and across the city this year alongside our father," says George and Pano Koulouris, co-owners of Grecian Gyro. "We grew up in the restaurant and can't thank the Atlanta community enough for how they welcomed Grecian Gyro back then and how they support us today."

  • Pano, Nick and George
  • George and Nick