March 11, 2019

Greek restaurant Meze to open March 24 in space seized by feds over drug money

Photo | Zachary Comeau
The dining room at Meze Estiatorio
The exterior of Meze Estiatorio
Photo | Zachary Comeau
The bar at Meze Estiatorio

The neighbor of a Worcester restaurant twice shut down because of a drug money laundering scheme is less than two weeks away from moving its authentic Greek concept into the next-door space.

Meze Greek Tapas, formerly at 156 Shrewsbury St., is nearly finished remodeling the 166 Shrewsbury St. place formerly home to The Usual and The Chameleon.

A grand opening date is set for March 24th for the new restaurant called Meze Estiatorio, according to owner Panos Georgiadis.

In recent weeks, the restaurant's exterior has been revived with a new sign and Greece-influenced paintings by local artists on the side of the building.

The family originally eyed opening in early February, but their ambitions got the most of them.

"We started doing renovations, but the more you sat there and looked at everything, the more you wanted to do," Georgiadis said.

The restaurant will be a slightly different concept, offering more high-end items and boasting an expansive Greek beer and wine menu.

The old Meze restaurant closed at the end of December as the family-owned business prepared to move and remodel the building they purchased for $525,000 from the federal government in September.

The property was seized from former owners Kevin Perry and his wife Stacey Gala after two of their concepts were shut down in back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017 for lauding the proceeds of Perry's opioid sales through the business and using those funds to renovate under a different concept after Perry was jailed.

Perry was sentenced last may to 14 years in prison. Gala and an associate Joseph Herman were also charged in the scheme and are awaiting resolution of their cases.

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