Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
Corporate Area diners now have another alternative with the recent opening of upper St Andrew's Opa - a restaurant that will serve authentic Greek cuisine. Opa means celebration, and although the occasion was used to say farewell to former United States Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, co-owners Orlease King and Alexx Antaeus were definitely in a mood to celebrate their new eatery.
Anaetus told The Gleaner that he had promised Bridgewater a party at the venue, so he was anxious to have the opening before her departure. Ambassador Bridgewater thanked him for the party and expressed the wish that it would grow from strength to strength. "I am leaving at the end of a wonderful tour and I am happy that Alex is showing faith that many others have in Jamaica. This is another business that will help the country to become economically sound."
And special guest Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller concurred as she thanked Antaeus for opening a business to help boost the economy. In her brief remarks, she had special words of commendation for the budding Jamaican chef who had received training through assistance from Ambassador Bridgewater and the Embassy. She said she hoped that Bridgewater would return to the island from time to time.
Opa seats 74 persons comfortably. The meals will be prepared by a Greek chef, Iannis Tompas, who will be ably assisted by Jamaican cooks. It also has a bar and lounge area.
"It's not just about food, but a vibe," said co-owner Orlease King, adding, "You can come to eat lunch or dinner at affordable prices; we will open later till the last customer leaves. We will be here to keep customers happy."
She noted that in spite of the harsh economic times, she is optimistic about Opa's prospects. She said Jamaicans are no longer close-minded about cuisine but are willing to try new things. The menu will stay true to authentic Greek cuisine.
The signature Greek theme was captured throughout the spacious interior by architect Lydia Chang. She told The Gleaner that she relied on Greek inspiration. "Though not traditional, I played on the blues with lots of arches, and all the material was sourced locally."
Also in attendance was the president of the Greek Chefs' Association, Karoubas Miltos, who presented gifts to the owners to mark the occasion.
Opa Greek Restaurant and Chill Lounge is located at 75 Hope Road, Kingston 6. Contact them at: 631-2000.