Thursday, July 26, 2007


The other day I heard what the City decided to call the new Trax stop coming in around the corner from my building.

Welcome to “Old Greek Town” everyone! Located in the heart of Little Italy, Old Greek Town is home to unique Italian restaurants and markets such as Tony Caputo’s, Carlucci’s and Cucina Toscana. Every August you can come down to Old Greek Town and celebrate Ferragosto with the Italians. Come dance to Italian music, play bocce ball and ride a vespa.

Ok, ok. I guess you might be able to spot a Greek on Sunday at the Greek Orthodox Church on 300 West, but seriously, that’s the only Greek thing about this part of town. The nearest Greek restaurant is the Greek Souvlaki, but that’s eight blocks up on 400 East. Plus it’s fast food. In all fairness, they do come downtown and host the Greek Festival and that’s when they bring in all the Greek food. But it’s in an enclosed tent around the church. It’s not an open street festival like Ferragosto. Plus it's only two days in September.

Several months ago, I attended a couple meetings about the construction and we held brainstorming sessions on what to call the new station. The City has meetings where we can offer input. We came up with several good names, I thought. Here are a few:

The Depot District
Rio Grande Stop
Old Warehouse District

All these names effectively reflect the area. The warehouses are obvious. The Rio Grande Depot has a lot of history with the railroad. Many people stopped here back when the trains came through. I thought it would be fitting to honor that same legacy that we’re updating with lightrail by acknowledging the Rio Grande Train Station. Oh well. I must have missed the meeting when all the Greeks marched in.

I'm not denying the fact that Greeks populated this area back in the day (hence the "Old" in Greek Town). I’m not against having a Greek town. I love Greeks. I like their food, I think their church is pretty and they have an interesting history. I'm just saying they better start a new settlement soon and open a restaurant or two because one day a tourist is going to say to his little family, “Ooh, let’s go to Old Greek town and get some dinner.” When they get off the train and realize (after asking around) that the closest thing to Greek food is a gyro at the Crown Burger on North Temple, they're going to feel misguided.

But then a nice Italian will show them where to find some excellent lasagna and cannoli.


Ilene said...

Obviously someone high up (and Greek) trumped all the other logical suggestions. Or perhaps they just watched "Field of Dreams" and thought if they named it "Old Greek Town" the Greeks will come. Let the exodus from Greece begin. said...

Maybe I am an East Coast snob (wait - I AM an East Coast snob), but Old Greek Town and Little Italy in SALT LAKE . . . COME ON!!!

Now, not only is it silly to put Greek Town in Little Italy, but have none of the city planners of TRAX people ever really been to an Old Greek Town or a Little Italy?

I like your other suggestions. For an authentic Greek Town or the real Little Italy, I invite one and all out here and I'll take you to The City!