In Greek, the word “Mazi” means “together”, a concept that is embodied to the fullest at Mazi Greek Restaurant in West Reading. “The time at the table is a time to be with the people you love,” said owner George Zeppos. “You dine, live, and love mazi.”
Although opening a restaurant during a pandemic was certainly a challenge, Zeppos is not new to the industry–Mazi is the seventh restaurant he has opened in the last nine years. A Berks County native, Zeppos worked in the financial industry for fifteen years in Boston (where he met his wife and business partner, Eleny) and Los Angeles. Ultimately, he was eager to return home to Wyomissing. “[Berks County] has such good energy,” he said. “I love West Reading…there’s something to be said about a small town.”
Zeppos is proud to bring authentic Greek cuisine to Penn Avenue, an area with a diverse restaurant scene. Zeppos called Executive Chef Israel Arias, or “Chef Izzy”, “creative” and “inspirational” when it came to his culinary skills. He highlighted Arias’s octopus dish, lamb shank, and shrimp pasta as must-try dishes for new visitors.
Housed in the former Bistro 614 building, Mazi’s interior design was cultivated to resemble an upscale European/Mediterranean dining experience. One of the highlights of the new design is a large front window, that can be folded against the wall to let in fresh air and sunlight.
Zeppos shared that his staff have been working very hard to ensure that all safety protocols put in place during the pandemic are not only being met, but exceeded. Calling a restaurant “the safest place to be other than a hospital”, Zeppos shared how carefully sanitized every surface was, the social distancing measures in place, and personal safety precautions his entire team has been taking.
Having grown up in the restaurant industry himself, Zeppos was proud to return to his Berks County roots, citing that he admired the “honest, rewarding, community service” aspect of restaurant ownership. At Mazi, “We are in a pioneering phase”, he shared. “[We are] sticking with our vision: cuisine, atmosphere, service, good culture, and serving our community.”
“It’s important for the community to support small businesses,” Zeppos concluded. “[There are many] wonderful business owners here…come on down to ‘The Avenue’, and be a part of this energy. Let’s be Mazi.”