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Iconic Chicago restaurant closes

Joshua Irvine

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The Chicago restaurant the Parthenon, known as the origin of flaming saganaki, has closed its doors after 48 years of operation.

The Near East Side establishment was most famous for originating the practice of setting saganaki – an appetizer of fried cheese – alight using a splash of brandy, usually paired with the iconic declaration of “Opaa!” by the server. The practice spawned countless imitators both within and outside of the Greektown neighborhood the restaurant served in its near 50 year history, but the restaurant is typically credited with originating the practice.

The restaurant was opened in July of 1968 by brothers Chris and Bill Liakouras, and debuted the famous variation of the dish soon after at the suggestion of a customer. It quickly became the restaurant’s signature dish, renowned across the world.

Chicago Tribune critic Phil Vettel characterized the restaurant as “the glittering jewel of South Halsted Street” when reporting on its closing September 7.

The restaurant’s closing was done without fanfare, an ironic finale for an establishment so famed for its theatrics.

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The student news site of John Hersey High School
Iconic Chicago restaurant closes