Dining on a Dime’s second New York City season continues in the borough of Queens — the largest and easternmost of the city’s boroughs. In this episode, host Lucas Peterson hops a W train to Astoria, where he pays a visit to a woman named Elpida — known as the Souvlaki Lady — who has operated a small food trailer on Ditmars Boulevard for the last 30 years.
Souvlaki is a traditional Greek snack comprised of grilled meat skewers, served with grilled bread or pita, and often with a variety of dipping sauces. While the concept is simple, the history reaches back incredibly far — references to grilled meats can be found in Homer’s Iliad, and go back as far as the 17th century BC. Elpida and her daughter, who also works at the trailer, is one of many Greek families that live in Astoria, which has served as the hub of Greek-centric life for New York for decades. Greeks emigrated in large waves during the 20th century, and Astoria in particular is known for having deep roots from its Greek population. Watch as Peterson heads to the epicenter of New York’s Greek community.