In 1948, Sam Chrys opened C & K Importing Company, a Greek market on Pico Boulevard across the street from St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, in what is now known as the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. Papa Cristo's has been featured in the Los Angeles Times as "A big fat taste of Greece" and is considered by many as the best Greek restaurant in Los Angeles.
Today, granddaughter Annie Chrys and her father Chrys Chrys run the business, which includes the market, Papa Cristo’s Taverna, and Papa Cristo’s Catering.
Inside Papa Cristo’s nearly block-wide storefront, which remains largely intact since 1948, you’ll find jars of marinated olives, Greek spices, staples, and delicacies made by hand on the premises. Chrys Chrys added a kitchen and dining area in 1985. Customers place their order of moussaka or a gyro and then find a seat in the dining area to eat.
For decades, the market’s clientele was mostly Greek, but nowadays their customers are from all over the world and the Chrys Family is finding new ways to connect with them and meet their needs. According to Annie Chrys, “[O]ur neighborhood has changed so much, some people may not know how to incorporate feta cheese or kalamata olives in their everyday cooking.” Her father adds, “A good recipe is like a good old bottle of wine: You should share it with somebody. Don’t just sit there and drink it by yourself – that’s no fun.”
In 2016, Chrys Chrys began offering free Greek cooking classes held once or twice a month in a large industrial kitchen behind the shop’s floor. Cooks Renata Romano and Apolonia Jimenez, two cooks who have been working at the restaurant for two decades and who are now experts in Greek cuisine, assist in teaching the cooking classes. Some of the recipes shared during the classes have been in the Chrys family for generations, while others are modern twists to Greek cuisine.