MANCHESTER, N.H. – 2020 will go down as the year without a Glendi, but die-hard Greek cuisine fans still got a taste of Glendi in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sept. 26 St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church held a “Taste of Glendi” event, aiming to combine the mouth-watering gyros found each year at Glendi with the social distancing that has become a prerequisite for most events in the age of COVID-19.
To achieve that balance, customers such as Jack Morin were treated to a drive-thru experience.
A Manchester resident, Morin has been to many Glendis in past years, and was happy that at least a small portion of the festival could be saved this year.
“I think it’s marvelous still, I think it’s wonderful,” said Morin. “I love the food and Greek culture. They seem well organized. I’m glad they did this.”
While the event was slated to last eight hours, the number of customers arriving left event organizers scrambling for more gyro ingredients within an hour of opening.
“It’s been busy since before we opened actually, there were people before 11 a.m. just to wait for us to open, it’s been a steady pace,” said event organizer George Copadis.
Despite the rush, Copadis believes that “Taste of Glendi”-style events won’t supplement the return of Glendi once the pandemic ends.
Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) is a member of the congregation and took some time to help volunteer at the event in between other campaign stops across the state.
“All the church festivals are a great hallmark of the New Hampshire community, particularly Glendi. So this is a great opportunity for Manchester residents to partake of some of the great Greek cuisine that can be found locally and at this church in particular,” he said.
While Pappas admits that this is the first church gyro drive-thru, he has begun to see other organizations think creatively to find a return to normalcy while offering safety from the pandemic.
“I think people are learning more and more about COVID and what’s safe and what’s not safe, so you’re beginning to see a few more activities around,” he said. “Whether it was the Pride celebration a few weeks ago or Girls at Work today, I’m glad we’re able to do things like this.”
Taste of Glendi will return to St. George’s on the 17th of October, with lamb shank dinners being served in a similar drive-thru fashion from 4 to 7 p.m. Anyone seeking the dinners is asked to call 603-622-9113 on or before Sunday, Oct. 11 and state their name, phone number and the number of dinners they wish to purchase.