DECEMBER 2019 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 87
HERB AND OLIVE MARKETA
FRESHEST IN MANHASSET
BY ALAN KRAWITZ
Julia Petropoulos, who has skillfully
recreated an authentic market-café
for all lovers of Mediterranean food
at her recently opened Herb and
Olive Marketa in Manhasset, traces
her earliest culinary inspiration to
another chef named Julia.
“Owning my own restaurant was an end goal
since I was young," says Julia Petropoulos.
"Since about age 5, I had a love
of cooking that I picked up from
watching Julia Child on TV with my
grandmother Rose," Petropoulos
recalls. "I had always wanted to have
my own business and owning my
own restaurant was an end goal since
I was young."
Growing up in Philadelphia, Petropoulos
says she started in the
restaurant business by working in
her parents’ restaurants and learning
the ropes. When she graduated
high school, Petropoulos was accepted
to the Culinary Arts Institute but
at her parents’ urging, opted instead
for a degree in education from Drexel
University. She then combined her
background and education by teaching
culinary arts at a high school
outside of Philadelphia for five years.
"I had several students that went on to
have careers in the restaurant business
and I stay in touch with many of
them to this day," she says.
Herb and Olive began to take
shape after Petropoulos' husband
got a lucrative job offer in
Greece, where she would live
for another five years. While
living in Greece, Petropoulos
brainstormed and did a lot of
research on various products
while formulating what type
of restaurant she would eventually
When she and her husband moved
back to New York, they settled in
Manhasset. Two years ago, things
began to fall into place when the
current location, formerly the Greek
tavern Mykonos, became available.
Petropoulos, along with her business
partner George Vatakis, agreed that
the Plandome Road spot was perfect.
Herb and Olive Marketa, which
opened in October, is a unique market
café concept with high ceilings,
white brick, and reclaimed wood
from upstate New York. The venue
features a full-service specialty
Mediterranean foods market in
front and café in the back that sources
its ingredients directly from the
"Everything is being cross-utilized
from the oils and nuts to the fruits,"
says Petropoulos, who describes
her venue as "a neighborhood place
where people can come to buy all
their Greek products from olives,
oils and fresh deli to produce, coffee,
jams, pastas, and legumes."
She also believes in sourcing as many
organic products as possible, such as
free-range chickens and eggs from a
local farm in Lancaster, Penn.
Petropoulos created Herb and Olive’s
tapas- and small-plate-focused menu,
but also shares cooking duties
with executive chef
spots with the New York Islanders
and Barclay Center’s 40/40 Club in
addition to Manhattan restaurants
Avra and Rao’s.
The Marketa’s specialties include
grilled lamb chops, shrimp, octopus,
spinach pie, and loukaniko, an
orange-scented Greek sausage. Also
available are from-scratch desserts
such as loukoumades (Greek fried
dough), baklava, and assorted
Petropoulos says she is "truly blessed"
to have been able to open her
dream store. She is also grateful that
the local community has welcomed
her with open arms.
“We haven’t even advertised yet,” she
says. “We’re all word-of-mouth at this
point … But, so far, so good.”
Herb and Olive Marketa is located
at 172 Plandome
Road in Manhasset.
It can be reached at
L. to R.: George Vatakis
and Julia Petropoulos
recently opened Herb and
Olive Marketa in Manhasset.
(Photo by Tab Hauser)