– When I heard that any restaurant can survive in Volda, I decided to take the challenge and manage one.
Gregorio Pasparakis comes from Crete in Greece and has opened Gregorios Kjellar in Volda. He left his country four years ago, in the middle of the economic crisis, and arrived in Norway, where he already has some good friends. He started working in a restaurant, but they closed down.
In 2015, one year after he had arrived in Volda, he found a restaurant which had been completely closed for 6 years. It had been abandoned because of the huge cost of rebuilding that the restaurant needed inside. Gregorio had heard rumors, however, that many small businesses ended up being successful, and he realized that «people like this kind of food» wherever you are in the world, so with the help of some friends, neighbors, and curious citizens, he just managed to open a new Greek restaurant at Halkjelsgate 16, in the center of the town.
But Gregorio had to face many challenges. He had to learn basic Norwegian very fast, to move here and find little jobs here and there… It was a hard challenge for him, but now he feels attached to the place, to the country, and that is the reason why he’s still here, fighting to keep his restaurant.
Gregorio is aware that opening a restaurant is difficult, though. His brother and his mother have recently joined him here in Volda to help him in the adventure. But even with three people, the business demands a lot of work. They are fighting to keep it afloat.
Opening a restaurant in Norway, says Gregorio, is even more difficult.
– It can be hard to seduce Norwegian people and make them get out of their houses. Also, life here can be quite expensive if you come from an another country.
Volda gets a lot of students every year, though. And this, for Gregorio, is the future of his business. By offering students special prices, he believes they will make some good publicity for him, and make the information about the place spread through town.
So what is the plan now? Gregorio repeats that he wants the atmosphere of the place to be family-friendly. He would like a place where families can come and spend some quality time together. Not only families, actually! Also for friends, students of any age, and food lovers.
From Greek specialties like Moussaka or Greek pita, to pasta, salad, or pizza. Nothing is more expensive than 170 kroner.
– The food is fresh, everything is home made, and it goes from the kitchen to the plate.
Gregorio’s eyes are especially bright as he thinks of what the future holds.
– As we say in Greek philosophy: if you want something very much, something positive, the universe will help you make it possible.
It is only the beginning for his business. Gregorio hopes that, little by little, his project will grow and become how exactly he wants it to be. It is no longer his adventure, he says, but an adventure for everyone in Volda.