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The iconic Marathon Souvlaki: popular menu has remained the same for more than four decades

    Marathon Souvlaki
    Peter Christakis

    It all began for the iconic Marathon Souvlaki in 1978 with a small restaurant on Notre Dame Street in Chomedey, Laval, containing five tables and focusing mainly on takeout and delivery.  The original locale expanded three times, ultimately growing to a comfortable 140 seats. This prompted the opening in 1996 of a storefront a few blocks away, on Cure Labelle, reserved exclusively for the takeout and delivery crowd.

    As Marathon marks 45 years in business, there are two other thriving locations: one at the Galeries des Sources in Dollard des Ormeaux and another off Decarie Boulevard, near the former Blue Bonnets Raceway.

    This is a family-run business, noted for friendly prices, signature entrées, great salads, superb souvlaki and sizable plates and combos. “The menu has virtually remained the same for more than four decades,” says Peter Christakis, one of nine family members overseeing the operation.  The others are Tom Klitirinos, Chris Klitirinos, Chris Constantinacos, Nick Kartsakis, Billy Rekas, Stefano Samonas, Peter Papadakos and George Caragiorgis.   The late Felipe Klitirinos was the founder.

    Marathon Souvlaki

    It is not uncommon to find all of the Marathon locations filled to capacity at any given lunch hour or dinner time. What is the secret to the restaurant’s success? Well, none of them are franchises. The family keeps a firm hand on operations, keeping their kitchens spic and span.  

    All of the products are replenished fresh each day. They bring in olive oil and olives directly from Greece. Their souvlaki has been voted Montreal’s best on numerous occasions in polls taken by different media. Most recently, they have been acclaimed as the number one Greek restaurant in The Suburban Newspaper’s Best of Montreal contest (https://www.bestofmtl.com/listing/2022/greek-restaurant).

    Marathon Souvlaki

    A friend and I recently enjoyed a delicious dinner.   We started off by sharing some taramosalata, with warm pita, a basket of garlic bread, a crispy plate of calamari and a large Marathon salad  (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, Greek olives, Feta cheese and their famous house dressing and oregano).

    Marathon Souvlaki

    I ordered the four marinated lamb chops, with their trademark fries. It was a perfect medium, cut like butter and got very high marks from me. My friend opted for the filet mignon brochette. He has been to Marathon many times over the years and usually favored the chicken brochettes and souvlakis. He was delighted with his choice and plans to make that his “go-to” meal on future visits.

    While we were both too full for dessert,  we both took home decadent pieces of Marathon’s Chocolate Prestige Cake.

    Marathon has a kid’s menu for only $11.25 and terrific lunch specials. All plates are served with a Greek or Marathon Salad, fries, or rice. Service here is lightning fast,  with a family member of the management team always on location to supervise the experienced kitchen staff.

    While take-out and delivery have always been a staple at Marathon, this picked up significantly during the pandemic. You can order via the three leading food apps,  Skip, DoorDash and Uber Eats.

    The owners of Marathon also remain committed to their community and they contribute to many charities. Marathon Souvlaki has locations at 3938 Notre Dame (450-681-7385)  and 3940 Notre Dame (Express) in Laval (450-681-9449), 3313 boul. Des Sources in Dollard des Ormeaux (514-421-5825) and 5365 des Jockeys near Decarie (514-731-6455). Log on to www.marathonsouvlaki.ca.

    Mike Cohen

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