KYRIAKOS and Maria Mavridis came to the UK eight years ago for a one-week trip and they’ve never left.

The couple fell in love with St Helens and the warm welcome they received and they saw the town as the perfect place to fulfil their dreams.

They opened The New Era Greeks on North Road in September 2015, recreating Greek cuisine and Greek vibes amid memories of home.

Here, in our latest Food and Drink feature, Kyriakos tells us why the restaurant is a project and not a business, how they adapted quickly amid the Covid-19 pandemic to continue to provide for local people and why they wanted to bring a taste of Greece to St Helens.

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Kyriakos Mavridis

Kyriakos Mavridis

What’s your full name?

Kyriakos Mavridis

What’s the name of the business?

The New Era Greeks

Are you the owner/manager?

I am the owner together with my wife Maria.

When did you open the business?

The New Era Greeks was established back on September 24, 2015.

The restaurant opened on North Road eight years ago

The restaurant opened on North Road eight years ago

Has it always been in the same location?

Yes. From day one, we liked Saint Helens. We liked the people of Saint Helens and their warm welcome when we arrived here - this is why we decided to open the restaurant here. We loved the fact that Saint Helens is a small town, away enough from the big and overcrowded cities, with loyal and very friendly people. It reminds us of our hometown back in Greece.

Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

Not at all. We are, both born and bred in Komotini, a little town in north east Greece. We got married there, we had our son in Komotini and our lives were there – we were pretty much settled. We were both involved in catering industry and our family’s future in Komotini seemed flawless. The financial crisis that hit Greece back in 2010 though made us understand that hitting our targets and securing our family’s future in Greece was impossible. We had to look around Europe for something more stable financially, so we could fulfil our dreams. After going through Austria and Germany, the warmth of the people of Saint Helens stole our hearts!

Tell me a bit about your business

First of all, let’s not call it a business. We prefer to call it a project, as we don’t like the word business. We are a family restaurant that wants to remind people of the Greek philoxenia - the Greek hospitality experience. We wanted to welcome people that have visited or stayed in Greece before and missed the Greek cuisine or welcome customers that have never been to Greece but would like to experience the Greek hospitality accompanied by some authentic Greek food and some Greek wine or ouzo.

All the food is prepared fresh each day at The New Era Greeks

All the food is prepared fresh each day at The New Era Greeks

What do you do? What services do you provide?

We have a passion for providing our friends with a little taste of Greece in Saint Helens. Most of our raw materials come directly from Greece, so we can secure that the dish that goes to the table is as close as possible to the traditional Greek dish that our Yiayia, our nan, was feeding us when we were in Greece. People can either book their dining-in experience with us online or they could just walk in every evening, apart from Mondays. Over the years, we have improved our take-away service, so our customers can enjoy authentic Greek recipes, even, to their doorstep. We brought Greek nights to Saint Helens with live Greek music, Greek dancing and plate smashing - a treat for everyone. This stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic and only started again recently. We are here to bring people together to experience the real Greek lifestyle and culture.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

I don’t really like to talk about myself, but this is something that very few people know - my wife and I never came to Saint Helens with the idea of opening a restaurant. We came with the hope of finding somewhere to stabilise our family and fulfil our dreams. The initial plan was to visit England for a week and then we would return to Greece and decide our next move. However, the warmth of the people of Saint Helens was so strong that a week’s trip is still going eight years later.


Vigour – “where the ordinary is done extraordinarily well”

Greek dancing keeps diners entertained

Greek dancing keeps diners entertained

What’s your business background?

I discovered that hospitality, catering and the food industry was my passion from a very young age. Back in Greece, together with my wife, we were involved in the catering industry. I opened my first business - a little café in my home town - when I was just 16. Since then, shops came and shops were sold, but our passion stayed the same.

Why this type of business?

The idea behind our project was that we wanted to remind to all our friends, whether they visited Greece before or not, why the Greek hospitality has become famous around the world. We were surprised to see that non-Greek people opened Greek restaurants in UK, ignoring basic rules of the famous Greek hospitality, manipulating Greek recipes that have been alive for centuries and advertised dishes and traditions as Greek, all in the name of business. That’s when our dream became a project - we wanted to show people what Greek food really tastes like, what real Greek wine tastes like and why Greek hospitality became world famous. Greek hospitality has nothing to do with business - it is all about friends being treated as family. We are The New Era Greeks - sometimes we are authentic and sometimes we are trying to modernise the old, but we will always be Greek. It’s not a business and they’re not customers – it’s a project with friends.

Were you open before/during/after Covid-19 pandemic? How did this affect your business?

The pandemic was, possibly, the hardest challenge for everyone. Initially, it started for two weeks and it lasted nearly two years. When restaurants in St Helens were forced to close, we were one of only a handful that was allowed to remain open. In less than a week, we had to transform our dine-in restaurant to a full takeaway venue, without dropping the quality of the food or the service. We started opening on Mondays, so we were operating seven days a week and we opened our own delivery system. We didn’t realise how much the pandemic would affect our plans. All the love we received, all this people’s positive vibe that hit us, straight after the pandemic, was fantastic to know and we are so pleased that we have loads of new friends that have joined us and they are part of the Greek family now.

Traditional Greek dishes fill the menus

Traditional Greek dishes fill the menus

What makes your business different to others in the same area/ field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

I am 55 and I have had my own business since I was 16 – why should I have competitors? When we came here from Greece, there was never competition from our side and there never will be. We are here to make our dreams come true, without competing and without getting our hands dirty in business. We would like to wish other people following their dreams the best of luck.

Why do loyal customers return to your business?

Because they are not loyal customers, they are our friends! There are so many restaurant choices, nowadays, that people can decide for themselves whether a restaurant is here to stay. Staying open for eight years is down to loyalty and trust, like any relationship, and we cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support.

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your business?

Something else you should know about Greeks - they don’t plan, at least not for more than 24 hours! There is a Greek saying that says tomorrow is a day as well - Ki avrio mera einai. I don’t like planning. Our last plan was to come to the UK for a week and we’re still here, eight years later. The festive season is almost here, so you can expect more Greek dancing, more plate smashing and more Greek music from us.

The New Era Greeks has Mediterranean vibes

The New Era Greeks has Mediterranean vibes