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Lincoln Greek restaurant The Parthenon moving out; Hickman restaurant moving in

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The Parthenon

The Parthenon owners Mike Kazas (L) and George Kazas. COURTESY PHOTO

The Parthenon will no longer be serving up gyros or baklava at the southeast Lincoln location the Greek restaurant has called home for nearly 20 years.

Instead, the restaurant in the Edgewood Shopping Center near 56th and Nebraska 2 will transition to strictly catering and running its Kouzina food truck, the restaurant announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Sunday will be the restaurant's final day.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon owners Mike Kazas (L) and George Kazas. COURTESY PHOTO

Owner George Kazas — who runs the restaurant with his brother Mike Kazas — said that while they've enjoyed serving their authentic cuisine to Lincolnites for two decades, staffing has been an issue.

"There's just not a single person walking in the door looking for work," George Kazas said.

Catering allows for more flexibility and requires fewer staffers, and 60% of the restaurant's income already comes from events.

"We are anticipating our catering business doubling, just because we can focus more on catering," George Kazas said. "We are tickled to death that our catering has been super good to us."

Lauren Bonk, social media manager for the business, said she believes the community will sorely miss the restaurant's brick-and-mortar presence. After she posted the announcement of the restaurant's exit Tuesday morning, the response has been heartwarming, she said.

"It's just been message after message of lament at the loss of the storefront," Bonk said. "But also everybody's just so excited that Mike and George are still going to be around still making awesome food."

The Parthenon

The Parthenon's patio. COURTESY PHOTO

Bonk said she's glad the Parthenon is continuing to bring its food truck to Lincoln's most frequented events. Kouzina's social media pages will be updated regularly to let the public know where to find the brothers' most loved dishes.

The Mettle Grill, a bar and grill in Hickman, will move to the space at the end of July.

Mettle Grill owner Susantha Weerasinghe said in a separate post that he had been working with the Kazases over the past few months to take over the space.

"We have big shoes to fill and we will work hard for the opportunity to earn the business of this community. I see this as a passing of the torch and not as a restaurant trying to replace the Parthenon," Weerasinghe wrote.

The Mettle Grill opened in Hickman in 2019, "specializing in homemade American food serving beer from local Nebraska breweries," according to its website.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon. COURTESY PHOTO

Throughout their journey as restaurant owners, the Kazases have built a faithful following of foodies. Even though George Kazas is excited about the new adventures his catering and food truck endeavors will bring, he'll miss his loyal patrons.

Thankfully, the pair isn't saying goodbye — they're simply switching gears.

"That's probably the hardest thing: not seeing our regulars on a daily basis," he said. "It is kind of bittersweet at the same time, because I know my true regulars will keep supporting us as they have for many years."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7241 or jthompson@journalstar.com

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K-12 education reporter

Zach Hammack, a 2018 UNL graduate, has always called Lincoln home. He previously worked as a copy editor at the Journal Star and was a reporting intern in 2017. Now, he covers students, teachers and schools as the newspaper’s K-12 reporter.

News intern

Jenna Thompson is a news intern who has previous writing and editing experience with her college paper and several literary journals. She is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pursuing degrees in English and journalism.

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