Joliet church to host Greek food festival Saturday and Sunday

The festival is All Saints Greek Orthodox Church’s main fundraiser

The All Saints Summer Greek Fest will be held Saturday and Sunday at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N Broadway St. in Joliet. A variety Greek dishes and desserts will be served. Pictured, from left, are Theodora Kalantzis, Joann Dimas and Lea Kontos.

A Joliet church is bringing lamb back to the menu for its annual food festival.

“You will actually see the lamb on a spit out there,” said Gregory Kontos, member of the festival committee and All Saints Greek Orothodox Church parish board.

The All Saints Summer Greek Fest will be held Saturday and Sunday at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N Broadway St. in Joliet.

The annual festival is the church’s main fundraiser, Kontos said. But raising money is not “the biggest goal,” he said.

“We’ve done a beautiful job over the years of caring for this place of God.”

—  Gregory Kontos, All Saints Greek Orothodox Church parish board member

“We want to run out of food,” Kontos said. “We want to serve up every last morsel of food.”

Last year, the festival ran out of the Greek chicken dinner and the pastitsio, Kontos said. Pastitsio is a baked Greek meat and pasta dish that some liken to lasagna.

Nevertheless, attendees shouldn’t worry that the festival will run out before they arrive.

“We’ve got plenty of food there for you,” Kontos said.

The All Saints Summer Greek Fest will be held Saturday and Sunday at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N Broadway St. in Joliet. A variety Greek dishes and desserts will be served. Pictured at the 2023 event are, from left, Panagioti Zografos, Frank Bati and John Georgouses.

“A wide arrangement of Greek dishes” will be served at the festival this year, Kontos said. This includes the Greek-style half chicken dinner ($15), souvlaki or pork shish kabob ($15), gyro ($12), cheese and spinach tiropita ($10), pastitsio ($12), and Greek salad ($10).

And, of course, the lamb, which costs $18 for the dinner, he said. All dinners come with side of green beans and rice pilaf, Kontos said.

Some items can be purchased a la carte, such as the souvlaki skewer ($5), green beans ($3) and rice pilaf ($3), Kontos saud. This way, adults can customize meals for their children, Kontos said. The All Saints Summer Greek Fest does not offer a children’s menu, he added.

“We did that instead of serving hot dogs,” Kontos said.

Also new this year saganaki, Kontos said, which is flaming Greek cheese.

The All Saints Summer Greek Fest will be held Saturday and Sunday at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N Broadway St. in Joliet. A variety Greek dishes and desserts will be served. Pictured from Greek fest from years past are, from left, Nick Skiniotes, George Skiniotes and Jim Vrakas.

Any dessert?

“It wouldn’t be a festival without the bakery,” Kontos said.

Dessert includes loukoumades (fried Greek pastry similar to doughnuts and covered in honey), baklava and three types of Greek cookies: koulouria (Greek butter cookies), paximadia (Greek biscotti) and kourambiethes (powdered sugar cookies, often served at holidays and weddings).

All Saints Greek Food Fest will also offer face painting starting at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, a DJ playing Greek and American music, and tours of the church and its “beautiful iconography,” Kontos said.

“We’ve done a beautiful job over the years of caring for this place of God,” Kontos said.

Above all, All Saints Summer Greek Fest is about expressing “philoxenia” or “hospitality” and “love for to strangers,” Kontos said.

“It’s just in our blood, this idea of philoxenia,” Kontos said. “It’s basically engrained in our upbringing.”

The All Saints Summer Greek Fest will be held Saturday and Sunday at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N Broadway St. in Joliet. A variety Greek dishes” will be served.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: All Saints Summer Greek Fest

WHEN: noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N Broadway St. Joliet

INFORMATION: Call All Saints at 815-722-1727 or visit allsaintsjoliet.com.