Hole-in-the-wall gem in Atlantic Beach gets polished up after 2-week closure

Olympia Cafe once again serving Greek food to customers after renovations

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - Health violations are a big part of why restaurants are ordered to shut down.

So when one Atlantic Beach restaurant was struck with an emergency closure, it made some big changes.

When it comes to Greek food, Olympia Cafe on Mayport Road has a "falafel" lot to satisfy cravings for Mediterranean food.

The hole-in-the-wall gem has been in the beach community for 17 years, which is why it's hoping to lure back any customers who may have left after it was recently shut down for two weeks.

"Right here is our baklava, this is very famous. It's a dessert. Customers love it. My mom makes it homemade," Klajdi Yzeiri, the owner's son, told News4Jax this week. "Gyros and gyro sandwiches, we're super famous for those. Our customers love them."

It's easy to see why customers weren't too happy that a "CLOSED" sign was posted on Olympia Cafe's door for two weeks.

According to health inspectors, 11 dead roaches and nearly 30 live roaches were found crawling inside the kitchen and lobby on July 6. Eight follow-up inspections uncovered even more roaches. 

"I feel like our challenge was basically the walls," Yzeiri said. "They were coming in from holes, the ceilings, everywhere. They like to hide in the ceiling."

Yzeiri said the biggest problem was the old structure, where the pests would easily come and go. Staff spent two weeks hunting down roaches and renovating the diner. 

"We got some new tiles over here, just so we could get the pests out of the way," Yzeiri said. "We got some new dry wall. The wall had water damage, so we got these new tiles in."

Two weeks later, Yzeiri was proud to show off the improvements.

"We're back and better," he said.

From new tables to new countertops, as well as the stovetops where the magic happens, the staff at Olympia Cafe said they're focused on getting back to business.  

The restaurant has since reopened after passing a final inspection.

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