For the previous two decades, Ted Gavalas and Daisy Rodriguez had called the bustling streets of Athens, Greece, home. But Gavalas, a sales executive, would frequently be called to set up a new operation in a neighboring country, sending him to Italy, Spain and France for months at a time.
“I would take my daughter out of school and go stay with him and do home schooling and eat, eat, eat and learn, learn learn,” Rodriguez recalled.
The chance to experience so many shades of the Mediterranean gave the couple a deep appreciation for its food and culture. And later this fall, they’ll be bringing a slice of both to Mission.
Gavalas and Rodriguez moved to Kansas City two years ago when Gavalas was recruited here for an international sales job. When his position in the company was eliminated about a year later, the two started talking seriously about an idea they’d had for a while: opening up a specialty grocery store and deli that would highlight the healthy — and generally affordable — culinary fare they’d developed such a deep appreciation for during their time in Europe.
In the next month or so, the duo will open their new Oregano & Thyme Mediterranean Market & Deli at 6116 Johnson Drive in Mission. The market will feature a selection of specialty pastas jams and spreads along with charcuterie, cheeses, soups and baked goods. There will be a freezer and refrigerator stocked with ready-to-eat meals to take home to the family.
“Everything will be made fresh,” said Rodriguez. “We’ll be feeding people the things I’ve been feeding my family, but on a larger scale.”
Gavalas and Rodriguez say they’ve felt incredibly welcomed in Mission. Though the two had no ties to the area before moving here — Gavalas is originally from Greece and Rodriguez is from Puerto Rico. They met as college students at Syracuse University in New York — they’ve quickly come to feel at home here.
“We wanted a location where you felt like a neighborhood store, the kind of place where you get to know your customers,” he said. “Of all the things we were looking for, this was pretty much close to perfect.”
“It’s the kind of place we want to be,” Rodriguez said. “It was just right.”