Meet Acropolis – the award-winning street food vendor bringing authentic Greek cuisine to the North East
We caught up with Filip Tachan, one of the heart and souls behind this family-run business, to discover the secret behind the massive queues that are always outside each of his street food stalls
You must have been hiding under a rock if you haven’t heard of Acropolis Street Food.
They’re the legends who have brought award-winning Greek cuisine into our region, with never-ending queues outside any and every one of their stalls every weekend. They also just happen to be one of our favourite street food vendors here at HLN.
So who are Acropolis?
Acropolis’ slogan, ‘Authentic Greek Street Food’, is posted on each of their stalls, and nothing can get more authentic than the beautiful people behind this family-run business: Filip, his brother Viktor, their mum and their friend, Yusuf Yenil
– all of whom are originally from Greece and are now committed to bringing their collective passion and knowledge about the foodie culture of their homeland to the North East.
Filip worked with street food in Greece until he was offered a job at a restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside and moved across to the UK. But something was missing; he missed the traditional side of the Greek street food culture he had grown up with. So, while on his lunch breaks, he visited Quayside Market and fell in love.
Quickly sharing his passion with his brother and friend, Yusef and Viktor took the plunge too and the trio set up their first Acropolis stall back in 2016. Looking back now, they say, it was the best decision they ever made.
These days, it seems that at every turn in the North East, you’ll find another Acropolis Street Food stall popping up. From Stack Seaburn, Stack Newcastle to, By The River Brew Co the Secret Garden to Dockyard,and at Tynemouth Market, Jesmond Food Market, Blaydon Market and Low Fell Market, the business has well and truly captured the hearts of us North Easterners.
Crowned the winners of Greek Restaurant of the Year at the North England Prestige Awards in 2020, recognised as Highly Commended Young Traders (Market) by NMTF, crowned winners of the Battle Of The BBQ 2018 and 2019 (hosted by Wylam Brewery) and currently one of the most popular UK takeaways on Deliveroo, it’s clear Acropolis are standing head and shoulders above the rest.
But what makes them so special, we hear you ask? We went to their Grainger Market stall to try some of their culinary creations ourselves, and catch up with owner Filip to find out.
Our visit to their Grainger Market stall
Nestled in the heart of Newcastle’s iconic Grainger Market, Acropolis brings that relaxed, holiday feel, despite being surrounded by busy city life. Walk up to the stall and you’ll be greeted with the enticing scent of cooking chicken, frying onions and their special sauces simmering in the pan. It’s enough to make your mouth water, let us tell you.
‘When I moved here there were Greek restaurants, but the food was different,’ Filip explains. ‘We saw a gap and wanted to keep it simple, as there wasn’t any Greek street food in Newcastle at the time.
‘I’ve always loved food. I make food for everyone I can make! And I just fell in love with Newcastle Quayside. We felt so welcome straight away, and we’ve become like a big family here. Our team is amazing and we wouldn’t be here without them’
Boy, can we tell! The scents, sights and steam coming from this little stall are unreal! So Filip – as newbies to authentic Greek cuisine, what should we order?
‘Gyros, for sure – gyros in Greece are like fish and chips in England!’ says Filip. ‘Gyros means “turn around”. But many restaurants don’t have the rotating machine needed to make “proper” Gyros, and just cut their chicken with a normal knife. You can see the difference and it changes the taste. Many people don’t know this, but using the correct equipment keeps that traditional taste.’
Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?
We ordered ourselves a Chicken Gyros and Halloumi wrap, Chicken Gyros and Halloumi Gyros Tray, Dolmadakia, Fried Halloumi Bites and Special Fries. Yes, we thought with our stomachs… but the portions are decently sized and worth every penny. All we can say is you definitely won’t be feeling hungry afterwards! As long as you aren’t planning on heading back to the office after, we’d recommend washing all of these delicacies down with a refreshing Mythos beer too.
Tucking into our Gyros and sipping our ice-cool beers brought back longed-for memories of holidaying abroad in the blazing hot sunshine. We could almost hear the lazy sound of the waves lapping the shore in the distance… Or was that the city-centre traffic?! It seems so bizarre, but Acropolis honestly gives you a chance to get a slice of Mediterranean culture during the hustle and bustle of our normal day-to-day lives. And we liked it.
The chicken and halloumi combo just melts in your mouth, and with every bite you get a good mixture of all the flavours. The special sauce lives up to its name, too – we’d love to know their secret ingredients! But we’d have to ask Filip’s mum, who makes all of their sauces from scratch every day (how adorable).
Special shoutout should go to the traditional snacking dish of Dolmadakia. A combo of stuffed vine leaves, each was filled with so much flavour that it certainly got our tastebuds tingling. If you like gherkins this is a very similar taste, zingy vinegar flavours mixed with fresh herbs and rice, this is a appetizer you’ll have to try.
With the queue outside their stall gradually growing as we enjoyed our food, we could detect the real sense of pride in the staff here at Acropolis. Every one of them were so friendly and dedicated to providing a 5* experience that, by the end of our visit, we almost felt like we’d been welcomed in as one of the family. What’s not to love?!
So, what’s next for Acropolis?
‘Going forward, we’re hoping to franchise and expand across the North East,’ says Filip. ‘We were lucky enough to be at Leeds Festival a few years ago, and the queues we had there were the biggest we’ve ever had. So we would love to try to expand to Leeds, as well as Edinburgh and Manchester eventually. Watch this space! There are very exciting times ahead.’