Evris Kontos, A Greek Cypriot Immigrant and the American Dream, In English
Evripides Kontos began his career working at a bakery in Cyprus after school, making hand-stretched fillo dough and fillo products. Noticing that the
bakery could not meet the demand for fillo products during the holiday seasons because of the inability to produce enough fillo dough, Evris began to
develop a plan for more efficient production. At the age of 16, he left school and his job, and with a loan from his uncle, started his own business
producing fillo dough for bakeries. Soon he was shipping to bakeries all over the island of Cyprus. Another uncle from the United States visited Cyprus and
recognized Evris’ ambition and ingenuity and convinced him that his future was in the United States. Evris sold his business in Nicosia and emigrated,
arriving in New York in 1949 where he began working at the Constantinoupolis Bakery on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, an area known as “Greek Town”. By 1968,
Evris had started his own fillo dough production company called Apollo in Dumont, New Jersey, using the hand-stretching technique he learned as a young man
in Cyprus. In 1971, with the assistance of a future partner, they succeeded in designing the first machine that would mass-produce fillo dough. The
mechanized production improved availability and price, which accelerated the introduction of fillo dough to professional and amateur chefs, as well as home
bakers, and Apollo Fillo quickly became available in supermarkets all over the country. Realizing there was an untapped demand for ready-made fillo
products, Apollo launched a line of Greek fillo products like Baklava, Spanakopita, and Tyropita. To meet the ever-increasing demand for product, the
company moved in 1980 to a building of 65,000 square feet in Fairlawn, New Jersey, where five fillo-making machines were in constant operation. During his
business growth, Evripides Kontos never stopped his activism and support for Cyprus and Greece.
This book is focused on his life, and achievements as he is one of the Great Generation of Immmigrants from the Mediterranean and Europe who helped build
post-war America from the 1950s into the 21st century.
In English. 237 pages.