Yammas Grill at Wasaga Beach

Mystery solved! Curious passers-by at 1288 Mosley Street in Wasaga Beach wondered for weeks what was meant by the sign, “Opening soon – Yammas.” Only those who understood the language, figured it must be a Greek style eatery.

A few chuckles were had by owners, Nikos and Aleksandra Patrianakos, over some of their patrons’ guesses. Nikos said many thought it was some sort of Jamaican store, thinking Yammas was a play on Ya, Mon.

It was not a long wait as the Patrianakos, who only moved up from Toronto May 1, opened Yammas on June 3. It’s on the north side of Mosley across from RONA.

The varied Greek and Canadian menu features appetizers such as spanakopita and fried calamari, a wide variety of salads, burgers and sandwiches, halibut fish and chips and dinners ranging from veal cutlets to chicken and pork souvlaki. Among the dessert choices, we see Baklava, of course! And there’s a kids’ menu too.

“I chose the open kitchen style so people can see what’s cooking, and they can smell,” Nikos said in an interview. “That’s the trend. Everybody likes to see an open kitchen – to see that it is clean.”

Yammas is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., serving breakfast lunch and dinner. “Right now we’re new and we have a hard time to find staff,” Nikos noted. People say they want work and then they don’t show up. “Until I find the right people I have to be here.”

Currently, they’re offering a breakfast special starting at $4.99 and lunch specials are to begin in September. The restaurant is licenced by the L.L.B.O.

Nikos said he aims to provide “something that everyone can afford,” because, he noted that these days, “everyone is watching themselves,” as far as spending is concerned. One local woman, herself an excellent cook, was overheard to say that Yammas’ Greek salad was the best she’d ever eaten.

The idea to move to Wasaga Beach and open a restaurant here began to form years ago. “I always liked the area here when I visited from Toronto,” said Nikos. “I thought it would be good for me to work here for a few years and then it would be a good retirement home. More recently, he came up to visit a friend, also a restaurateur in the area, who said, ‘why don’t you open something in Wasaga Beach?’

Then, Nikos did a survey, saw that the town was growing quickly and that there was a potential for business here. He said he felt that the people “needed something different.”

Having arrived in Toronto from Greece in 1973, Nikos spent the next 38 years working in restaurants, 27 of those for himself. He recalled his first job was washing dishes. “Then, slowly, you work your way up.”

“I worked at the Astoria for about nine months,” he said. “It’s the busiest place on the Danforth, the original shish kabob place.”

Shhh! Niko revealed one of his secrets. “ I use pure olive oil which I bring from my village (in Greece).”

And, oh yes. I almost forgot. Yammas means “Cheers! To your health!”

-Written by: Joanne Saunders

Joanne Saunders is a freelance journalist living in Wasaga Beach.

Yammas Grill
1288 Mosley St., Wasaga Beach