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A salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and halloumi, and a gyro stuffed with meat and fries.
Smoke & Honey is in a soft-opening phase.
Katherine Kimball

Smoke & Honey Brings Breakfast Gyros and Matzo Ball Soup to Mid-City

A pop-up launched in the early pandemic finds a home in the former Piece of Meat space

Justine Jones is the editor of Eater Twin Cities.

Pop-up-turned-permanent-restaurant Smoke & Honey is up and running on Bienville Street in Mid-City. Owner Vassiliki Ellwood Yiagazis has the restaurant in a soft opening phase at the moment, serving breakfast gyros, spinach and feta-stuffed bourekas, salads, matzo ball soup, and shaved pork and chicken gyros, plus wine and beer — but she plans to expand the menu of “Greek and Jewish soul food” significantly in the coming weeks.

Ellwood Yiagazis was born in Greece, and spent the first seven years of her life there. Her menu draws from her mother and great-grandmother’s traditional Greek dishes, which she blends with with Jewish family recipes that she’s learned from close friends and loved ones. An actor and filmmaker, she moved to New Orleans early in the pandemic, after the film industry in Los Angeles shut down. “I was in a brand new city. I was craving these comfort foods and wanting to be close to my family — so I started with tzatziki, and bone broth, and matzo balls,” she says. She started selling her food at Mid-City Market, and Smoke & Honey the pop-up was born.

Ellwood Yiagazis eventually locked in a nighttime residency at Pals Lounge in Bayou St. John. That’s where she created her lambeaux, slow-braised lamb po’ boys finished with pickled cucumbers and onions and a thick smear of whipped feta. Eventually, with the help of her two business partners, she made the leap into the Bienville Street place, formerly home to butcher-turned-steakhouse Piece of Meat.

So far, Smoke & Honey’s breakfast gyros (soft scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, fried halloumi, French fries, and creamy tzatziki stuffed into a pita) have been a hit, Ellwood Yiagazis says. But in the coming weeks, she plans to add more dinner-like dishes like gemista (baked tomatoes and peppers stuffed with rice), a few vegan and vegetarian options, and cinnamon-spiced pastitsio , a Greek-style lasagna. (“It kills me to say the word lasagna, because the Greeks would totally be like ‘We invented it first,’” Ellwood Yiagazis says, laughing.) She also plans to roll out a fish program, slicing lox and smoking salmon in-house for breakfast sandwiches.

Smoke & Honey is already offering imported Greek beer and biodynamic wines — one is a traditional Greek wine made from pine resin. Coffee Science is also running a satellite location out of the restaurant, serving hot honey lattes and espresso tonics alongside the food menu.

Ellwood Yiagazis’s famous lambeaux will be joining the full menu, too — she did a limited run of them for Super Bowl Sunday. Keep an eye on Instagram for updates from Smoke & Honey, as the menu expands.

Two halves of a bagel topped with cream cheese, vegetables, and mint on a white tray with a blue rim.
Whipped feta and cucumber-tomato salad on a New York-style bagel.
Smoke & Honey
A gyro stuffed with fries, meat, and a slice of tomato in silver foil on a white and blue tray.
Smoke & Honey’s fry-stuffed gyro.
Smoke & Honey
Vassiliki Ellwood, dressed in black, sitting at a counter in her cafe space Smoke & Honey, smiling at the camera with an elbow on the counter.
Smoke & Honey owner Vassiliki Ellwood.
Smoke & Honey

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