Tommy Diangikes describes growing up in a big Greek family as being perpetually surrounded by "food, wine and loud people." So it's understandable the gyro slinger feels right at home on Upper King Street around 2 a.m.
Diangikes, 29, and his 22-year old cousin, Tony Angelakis, this summer launched Platia Food Truck, serving salads, sandwiches and dips inspired by a trip back to their ancestral homeland. Although Platia parks in various spots throughout the week, its home base is the corner of King and Woolfe streets. There, the cousins operate the truck from 6 p.m.-3 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Platia has gained a following among downtown high-end chefs, who gravitate toward the Hillybilly Pita, a chicken sandwich finished with pickled onions and feta-pimento cheese.
"We make everything fresh," Diangikes says. "Our tzatziki, we make it ourselves. We don't buy fake lamb: We grind our own and add spices."
Both cousins grew up in the restaurant business: Their families run steakhouses and breakfast joints in Spartanburg. Another relative owns a Greek restaurant, but Diangikes says he didn't fully appreciate Greek street food until he spent six months in Greece.
"I traveled around and came back broke," he says. He saved up money for the Platia project by working in his father's restaurant.
In addition to the ever-popular gyro, the Platia menu includes chicken souvlaki; lamb bifteki; falafel and homemade Greek yogurt, sold with two toppings for $4.
"We've had a pretty good reception so far," Diangikes says.
To find Platia outside of weekend drinking hours, visit facebook.com/PlatiaFoodTruck.