March 7 - Just a stone's throw away from the Greek parliament a small restaurant has defied the odds to spring up in the midst of the worst economic crisis ever faced by Greece. Andrew Potter reports.
At a time when much of Greece is struggling, this restaurant is doing quite the opposite. It's a stone's throw away from the Greek parliament, which has brought in numerous spending cuts in recent years to try and dig the country out of debt. The owners of Meatropoleos say the quality of their food can help them survive despite the biggest crisis in Greek history. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MEATROPOLEOS CO-OWNER, SOKRATIS DIMOPOULOS SAYING: "We didn't believe that we are going to be that way. In the middle of the crisis, with all the riots in the Syntagma Square, we didn't believe it. But we are doing very well because we see the people recognise us and the quality that we give to them." It's a beacon of hope in a country where people's spending power has dropped as unemployment approaches one in four. But across town from the restaurant, a reminder of the reality facing the rest of Greece. Coca Cola Hellenic, which is Greece's biggest company by market value, is closing two production plants because of a drop in sales. Yanos Gramtidis is president of the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE YANOS GRAMATIDIS: "The Greek state should show a friendly face to entrepreneurship. Without these factors, without a climate and legislation protecting foreign investors and domestic investments, I believe we that will remain in this situation for many years." After two years of cuts the Greek government says it will pay more attention to growth. It's brought in new measures to help businesses cut through red tape and improving the tax system. But with the country waiting on another bailout instalment which could still not happen, other businesses may struggle to follow the fortunes Meatropoleos restaurant. Andrew Potter, Reuters