Yia Yia and her husband Stefano
Yia Yia and her husband Stefano
The owner of Yia Yia’s Greek Kitchen has owned pizza restaurants for years, but has taken her move to Ridgeland as a chance to serve the Greek cuisine she grew up loving and now feeds her family.

Yia Yia Mangafakis moved to Madison to be closer to her son’s family including her two grandsons Stefano and Nikolis. Previously she had owned and sold about seven different pizza places in Connecticut and Vermont. Before that she lived on Rhodos Island in Greece.

Yia Yia means grandmother in Greek.

“Before it was all pizza and maybe we would have a gyro or something, but now I want this to be an authentic Greek restaurant,” she says. “This is the kind of food I cook everyday for my family. These are the recipes I picked up from my own mother and my Yia Yia and from my sisters and mother-in-law.”

Mangafakis has six family members who work in the restaurant. They cook authentic Greek food daily and make everything from scratch. She said you can search her kitchen, almost nothing comes from a can or has been frozen.

She says the customers are responding to their personalized touch and word of mouth has kept their dining room busy with repeat customers since they opened in August.

“This is the greatest fun my mother could have,” Chrisanthi, her daughter said. “Meeting people is the best pay she could receive. My mom likes to walk the dining room and make sure the customers are enjoying themselves.”

Join Mangafakis and her family Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information call 601-853-1110, but Mangafakis says she would rather you come in and meet her in person.