Αri Vezene: A Greek-American Chef in Athens

His double nationality has helped him survive both in the US and Greece. Born to Greek parents, Ari Vezene is a Greek-American chef and restaurateur, who decided to take his chances and start his own business in Athens in 2011.

Despite the ongoing recession tormenting Greece, small businesses and its people, Vezene opened the homonymous restaurant in Athens always bearing in mind that business is business and emotions play no role in professionalism.

Born in New York City, Vezene returned with his family to Greece at the age of eight. He came back to the US to go to college and only made up his mind about his future career after he had worked in a Greek restaurant while studying in Chicago. His first ever job was at Burger King in Orland Park, IL, but working in the Greek restaurant made him grow fond of the food business.

In 2005, Vezene returned to Greece for family reasons and wanted to run his own business but circumstances had him waiting on clients in the Hilton Hotel, where he worked hard to earn all the money he needed. In 2009, Vezene opened his own Italian restaurant on the island of Meganisi, which would soon turn into a success story. In 2011, Vezene opened a new restaurant in Athens downtown against the odds and the crisis.

So far his entrepreneurship has proved successful, but Vezene knows that the current turbulent situation in the country could leave him with nothing within hours. His Athens restaurant serves Greek and Italian delicacies and attracts many customers, but should things change the Greek-American has decided not to return to the US but rather stay on a Greek island, enjoy the quality of life and work enough to make ends meet.