Athos highlights Greek cuisine, culture

He has cooked all around the world, Danes said, and has had success in restaurant management as well as food preparation.

Danes said he wants Athos to be able to capture the Greek culture and the experience of a Greek meal.

He said Greek culture has had resurgence in the area, and the Greek festival at St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Church in Albany draws between 12,000 and 15,000 people, and this restaurant will allow people to continue to

experience the Greek tradition.

"The idea of a Greek restaurant has been a dream of mine and my wife, Sophia, for a number of years," Danes said.

"Eating and having a meal is a happening. It's a time for people to relax, reconnect, to share, to talk and to laugh; basically a time to refresh your soul."

He said he wants to capture the essence of Greek life, and allows patrons to order everything from Greek entrees like souvlaki, to "meze," a much smaller order that usually involves a drink of wine and small plate to share with a companion.

Athos is also featuring a number of red and white Greek wines that are usually not found in the area.

He said a very long time ago Greece was plagued by wines that tasted of pine, because the storage areas in slave-driven rowboats allowed it to seep into the drink.

They have come a long way from that, Danes said, and now Greece has a formidable emerging fine-wine market.

"It's underappreciated, but they're really starting to market it. Greece has come a long, long way in the quality of its products," he said.

Danes said that as Albany moves toward a more cosmopolitan environment, with SUNY Albany and its nanotechnology research building and other nearby schools like RPI, that it is ready for diverse and exciting dining. He said Athos fits well into the emerging area.

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