It was in his beautiful island home on Antiparos that Tom Hanks got the idea to start a Greek restaurant chain in the US. The restaurant industry has taken a hit during the pandemic, and many service workers are out of jobs. So the actor thought to cash in on his fame to create a healthy new fast food chain, named Souvlaki Hanx.
Souvlaki Hanx: The Beginning
This foray into Greek food is actually not that surprising for the actor. Hanks has forged close ties to Greece and Greek culture for years.
After years of marriage with Greek-American Rita Wilson, Hanks now has Greek citizenship and retains a residence in Greece. He is an active member of the Greek community and church in Los Angeles.
“Hanx,” for those who don’t know, is Tom’s signature sign-off line on his Instagram captions and many of his Tweets. This symbol of his online persona is the perfect name for his restaurant chain, which will be paying workers at least $17 per hour.
The first location will open in The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, with immediate plans to open more restaurants across the US.
However, the movie star plans to expand the chain’s offerings beyond the restaurant locations themselves. Plans for food items such as ready-made Greek dips to be sold at supermarkets are already underway.
In a fun tribute to his wife of several decades, Hanks’ marketing team will be selling the dips under the brand name “Rita Pita.” The dips will be sold along with Rita Wilson’s Pita Bread.
The Gyros in Tom Hanks’ Restaurant
Some of the chain’s signature dishes will also include references to Hanks’ long and celebrated acting career on screen. These dishes will include: Private Ryan’s Gyro, Cast Away Fries with feta and oregano, and The Terminal — a shareable gyro plate with a variety of Greek meats and sauces.
Since the chain aims to also offer healthy alternatives, Hanks’ restaurant will be offering vegan dishes as well. These include a vegan plate called Forrest Gyro, as well as The Green Kalamaki, made with “Impossible gyro” meat.
The gyro offerings of the chain will be available in standard or “Big” sizes. The latter is a tribute to the charming 1988 hit starring Hanks himself.
As the new restaurants aim to promote a family-friendly atmosphere, kids’ options will be available as well. Pita Story, as well as Pita Story 2 and 3, a reference to Hanks’ work in the “Toy Story” series, will offer smaller, simpler gyros for children.
So far, there hasn’t been a national Greek food chain in the US market, yet many Americans love Greek cuisine. Additionally, the Mediterranean diet has become increasingly popular over the years.
In an exclusive statement sent to Greek Reporter on April 1st, the actor emphasized that Souvlaki Hanx “will be exactly what’s needed to start a second Greek food revolution in the United States.”
“Our goal is to make standard Greek street fare accessible to everyone,” noted the actor-turned-restaurateur.
Look out for an upcoming announcement on Tom Hanks’ Twitter account about future store locations, which are still being kept under wraps for now.
Tom Hanks is proudly “more Greek than the Greeks”
And if all this sounds too good to be true, it is because it was one of our two April Fool’s jokes. Happy New Month!