Church-made, From-Scratch Greek Specialties for your Thanksgiving Table

Now that you have your turkey planning squared away, it’s time to turn to Thanksgiving sides and dessert options, including Greek pastries baked by the food-focused congregation at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons.

If you have attended the summertime Greek Festival of the Hamptons–which draws hordes from all over Long Island, Astoria and beyond–you will know that these church members are serious about food. The congregation’s new Byzantine church building, nearly completed in Southampton, doesn’t just contain state of the art, LEED-certified elements, like solar roof shingles, motion-activated lighting, smart boards in the classrooms, and a massive copper dome and cross made by local metalsmiths. It also contains a gleaming commercial-grade kitchen, which room to turn out even more from-scratch spanakopita (spinach pie), tiropita (cheese pie), and baklava than the church already does.

The big food-focus is nothing special to the Greek Church, says Father Alex Karloutsos, who pointed to bread-breaking (and bread-making) traditions across faiths. Sharing food is an essential way to be friendly to strangers, he noted, using the Greek term “philoxenia” that is the opposite of the better known term, “xenophobia.”

But this church’s food programs are also practical. The church buys bulk feta, olive oil and other homeland specialties that congregants can purchase from an informal “gourmet” shop, and brings in celebrity chefs to celebrate the food traditions of Church members, who are Greek, but also Romanian and Russian. A corps of talky regulars gather weekly to turn out dolmas and finikia (honey-dipped nut cookies) for noshing after mass. “When we make it, we make a lot of it,” says Santi. Most important,  the revenues from food sold throughout the year benefit the church’s charitable work throughout the year. It mobilized a huge effort–still ongoing–for Hurricane Sandy victims in New York City.



Recently, when I was confronted with a last minute potluck invitation, I grabbed a tin of tiropita and spanakopita from the Greek church that I’d picked up the week before and had in my freezer. Reheated at the party, it was an exotic hit and great last-minute convenience. Pick-up for Thanksgiving orders is this November 17 and 18. But these items are available for parties or the home pantry, year-round. Check out the full menu here. For more information, 631.283.6169 or