The opportunity to get fast food, Greek style, is available this weekend.
For the first time in 32 years, the 33rd annual St. Sophia Greek Festival will offer a drive-through area for customers who do not wish to enter the festival, located on the grounds of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Elgin.
If you goWhat: The 33rd annual St. Sophia Greek Festival
Where: On the grounds of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, 525 Church Road, Elgin
When: 5-11 p.m. today; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, July 8-10. Customers may place an order ahead via email at email@example.com for pickup from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.
Cost: $2 to enter the festival; children are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets for the "kids area" are five for $10 or eight for $15. Each activity will require a number of tickets.
Details: (847) 888-2822 or st-sophia.com/greekfest
"Some people don't have the time to come into the festival. Some people just want to pick up good food for dinner, so we did this more of a convenience to the public," said event Co-Chairman Sieglinde Savas of Lake in the Hills.
"It's just one more way to serve the people our homemade food."
The festival will be from 5-11 p.m. today, July 8 and continue from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, July 10. Customers may place an order ahead of time today only -- via email at firstname.lastname@example.org [--] to be picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The drive-through will be open during festival hours in the Messiah Lutheran Church parking lot, which is next door to St. Sophia.
It costs $2 for an adult to enter the festival and children are free with a paying adult. There is no extra cost to buy food from the drive-through.
Savas thought of the drive-through idea with her husband, Dan, who is the other co-chairman. She said it will be similar to Portillo's restaurant where someone will be outside taking your order. There is a limited menu for the drive-through, featuring the more popular items. Those items include Grecian chicken, souvlaki or shish-ka-bobs, gyros plate, Greek salad and baklava for dessert.
The regular menu will highlight one new item, the Greek style hamburger, which includes feta cheese, tomato and is seasoned with oregano.
"Our most popular item has got to be the gyros because that's just what everyone knows," Savas said. "But we do have a new Greek hamburger which we're pretty excited about too."
All the food is home-cooked by the members of the church. Chrysoula Zannis of St. Charles, who is originally from Greece and works at the coffee booth, said the food is authentic.
"I've been involved for the past 19 years," said Zannis, who was born in Athens. "Every year it gets better and better ... we always try to adjust to make it easier to serve the people. Everything is very authentic and prepared on site."
Zannis said the coffee booth is very popular and serves traditional Greek coffee that is made slowly, taking several minutes to simmer. Each order is customized to the customer's request, Zannis said.
"We talk to (customers), find out where they are from. We are a conversational group and we take a few minutes to get to know our guests," she said.
The festival includes games for children and activities such as a moon walk and an obstacle course. There will also be a DJ playing American music today and Saturday and Greek music on Sunday.
All activities are outside, except for the newly expanded shopping area that has doubled the amount of items available. It will be located inside the St. Sophia church. Savas said anything from purses to jewelry will be on display for purchase.
"I think we have a family festival catered to having family and friends together," Savas said. "It's just a relaxing atmosphere with great food."
For details, call (847) 888-2822 or visit st-sophia.com/greekfest.