Birmingham, Alabama enjoys strong ties to Greece - namely the small, quiet region of Kynouria, nestled on the eastern side of the Peloponnese peninsula. Eighty percent of residents from Kynouria made their way to Birmingham, starting in the 1880s. One such gentleman, George Sarris, founded one of the most popular and successful restaurants in Birmingham (The Fish Market), and I sat down with him to learn more about his native Greece.
Miles away from the tourist frenzy of Athens and Mykonos, the villages of Kynouria sit along the coast of the Myrtoan Sea amidst the Parnon mountains. The principal city of Leonidion is home to the ancient Tsakonian dialect and dance, along with the tsakoniki, a unique eggplant variety. Monasteries dot the landscape, shepherds tend their goats, villagers harvest vegetables and fruits from the land, and family fishing boats line the coastal waters.