Return to the village
Cafe Oinos - Coming home
“Soon we will have to light up the fireplace,” says Loukas, pointing to the centerpiece of the room. “I’m looking forward to cooking some sausages on it.”
Loukas’ café/wine bar is cosy. The walls are filled with different clocks, (seventy to be exact) and old Cypriot adverts.
“I like to collect things” he says. “My father was the same. This old tin advert for Singer typewriters was from him. And this huge tin Coca Cola sign.”
None of the clocks tell the right time. But, that’s because Loukas wants people to choose the time they prefer.
The 26 year old bought his shop 3 years ago. It was a dilapidated building – once belonging to an old man that sold anything and everything from shoes to candle wax. He owned it until he died aged 90, which is when Loukas began transforming it into what is now known as Café Oinos.
It’s the only café/wine bar in the village – not serving meals, but what Loukas calls Tsimbima – things to pick at. Local meats, like lounza and tsamarela, cheeses such as Kaskavali, tomato and fresh bread from the village bakery and of course only Cypriot wines.
“The style is a mix of vintage and modern. But, really I just put up what I have in my mind. If I like it, I put it up.”
A Graphic designer by trade, Loukas gave up his career in the city to come back to the village he grew up in - Kalopanayiotis. The economic crisis struck and he says he was tired of giving his ideas away for next to nothing. He wanted instead to come back home and run his own business.
“If I have an idea,” he says. “I always ask ten people. Eight people always say no, don’t do it and two people always say yes, do. This was no exception. Two people said yes, open up your own café bar. One was my godmother and the other was an architect. That was enough for me.”
Loukas grew up in the food industry. His parents ran a restaurant for 17 years. So, he ignored the advice he received and has not regretted it since.
“I’m so lucky because there is no bad competition here in the village. We all help each other. If we didn’t, we would lose everything that people have worked so hard to build here. We have good teamwork.”
He says the village is receiving double the visitors this year compared to the last, with a steady stream of local and international tourists coming from May through to October.
“We are always full at Easter and Christmas. My only issue is staffing. I’d like to see more young people coming back to the village like me. If they did, perhaps they could help me with my new plans.”
Loukas speaks enthusiastically about the future. He wants to turn his rooftop into an outdoor cinema and garden bar.
“I think it could be ready for this summer,” he says excitedly, pointing to the bare stone wall against his roof. And then, contemplating the labour: “I just need someone strong to help me do it.”