Family bonds and Greek traditions

by Karen Phillips


Walking into Hero House, I feel like I am visiting a distant relative who I might not see but once every few years, yet am still welcomed with open arms. The atmosphere has a European quality with a New York City flair. The walls are lined with subway tiles and the logo has a chubby, little man with a mustache in a chef’s hat holding a giant sub.

Quaint. While I wait in line, I scan the extensive menu, trying to decide whether I want a sub or some pasta. It’s my turn at the counter and I scramble to make a selection. I blurt out the first image that comes to my head in hopes of not holding up the line: spaghetti with marinara sauce, and a side of garlic bread.

A safe, but delicious choice. Jane Kotsionis and her husband Harvey opened Hero House “in a shoebox on a shoestring” in 1975. The Kotsionis always knew they wanted to open a restaurant. Because of Harvey’s Greek heritage, they envisioned a place where they could sell Greek staple foods like souvlaki, gyros and baklava — something that would be very unique to Winston-Salem at the time — while also catering to customers who wanted something special on a limited budget.

They decided on a deli-style sandwich shop so they could combine their Greek influence of strong family bonds and ethnic traditions with more widely approachable meal options. Their mission to make great food with the best ingredients and to offer it at the most affordable prices possible grows stronger to this day.

“We do our best to serve a product that will appeal to anyone and everyone who simply likes great-tasting food,” says Cami Kotsionis, daughter to Jane and Harvey. She says Hero House best accommodates customers who want something that is “always handmade and made-to-order quickly so they can be in, out and on their way to their next destination.”

While enjoying my spaghetti and watching some television, I can’t help but feel relaxed. Everyone around me is either in their hospital scrubs or business-casual work attire, surely pressed for time, but no one shows it. Conversations ensue about what went on this weekend, or what might go on the next, but work is not the topic at anyone’s table. The flavors on my plate don’t remind me of a fast-food restaurant, they remind me of grandma’s dining room. And half an hour later, I’m out the door — plenty of time for lunch (and family time, wink).

The Kotsionis just recently expanded their flagship location on Stratford Road and opened a second location at Peters Creek Parkway, both in Winston-Salem. “We are always looking for opportunities to evolve, grow and surprise,” Cami admits.

They most recently added a full pizza menu, and now offer a smaller portion of their homemade onion rings; they also added cookies to their dessert menu, all per customer suggestions and requests.

“We will always work hard to listen to and exceed the expectations of our customers, as we feel that is the key to the success of any business, whether small or big, public or private. We value our customers more than anything, and we thank them for continuing to join us in our culinary journey.”

The Kotsionis hope to be their customer’s favorite pit-stop where they can meet up with friends, share time with family, or just stop in during their lunch break. Their ultimate goal is to have a restaurant that treats people like family.


Hero House; 914 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem; 336.768.3944; www.