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It's all change in the main square in Kambos, the ups and downs of the taverna world

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 20 December 2021

The arrival of Thomas, son of the original Miranda, with his big new restaurant in the village square last summer has had strange consequences.  In an unattractive way, Thomas cajoled what passing tourist trade there was to his place which pushed not so lovely Eleni at the original Miranda’s over the edge and she threw in the towel a week or so after we left the Greek Hovel in the summer.

The new owners are a couple who are, I guess, in their mid-forties and are from a long established Kambos family and are well liked in the village. I should not say this but the Mrs, Barbara, is well fit.  And they have a secret weapon, two sons aged about 20 who cook and do front of house. Like their mother they are good cooks and are cheerful and friendly.

The new team have kept the best of the old place, the very good value food and the ability of folks to smoke inside in breach of the law. In the winter that matters as temperatures at night slide towards zero. So who wins and who loses?

Thomas, on the far side of the square may do the best food but he has pissed off the locals so his place is invariably empty and he must be hanging on grimly waiting for the summer. The new team at what was once Miranda’s at the top of the small village square have attracted all the big drinking locals such as Nicho the Communist who will eat there but also stay on drinking afterwards rather than going to lovely Eleni at the Korounis taverna on the near side of the square for their heavy drinking.  Eleni’s is a no smoking establishment. That is an own goal.

But the young folks, male and female, have moved their drinking and smoking en masse from Korounis to what was once Miranda’s. I cannot imagine the older men mind seeing the village totty at the next table so what was once Miranda’s is packed. Okay, it is small and cannot seat more than 20 in a very cramped way but it is doing that all night every night.

The Kourounis has TV and some folks go there to watch the great God that is soccer. But once a game is over most of them leave either to head home or to squeeze into what was once Miranda’s or – in the cold night air – to sit outside it. The Kourounis does a good enough trade in daytime coffees and remains one of the two general stores in the village so will survive but you can see the shift in trade and it must hurt a bit.

In the summer the square will be full so everyone will do well. But in these winter months there is only one winner and all of this change was caused by the disruptive arrival and antics of Thomas who, with hindsight, must regret forcing the change of ownership at what was once his mum’s old place. I don’t like change just as I do not like taverna owners who push me for custom. So for me, as always, it is what was Miranda’s followed by a coffee at Kourounis. And in the daytime, if not olive harvesting, I tap away at my keyboard ordering fresh orange juice or coffees all day at the Kourounis. My habits are well set and will never change.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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