Celebrating with Greek eats
Lamb, pastries and more at Liamos Market
By Linda A. Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
At first glance, Liamos Market in Nashua looks just like any other corner convenience mart. But when you notice the delicious smells and see the imported Greek products lining the shelves, it becomes evident that this is a specialty store, and in this case, the specialty is lamb.
“No one else prepares it like us,” said owner-manager Michael Katsoupis. Most of the lamb he sells is marinated and ready for the grill or oven. “We take the guesswork out of it and make it easy.”
Open since 1927, Liamos was started by Michael’s grandfather, an immigrant from northern Greece. The lamb seasonings are his recipes. Michael’s parents inherited the shop and his mother, Olga Katsoupis, still works there. She bakes cookies and helps make locanico, the Greek pork sausage they sell for the holidays.
Limaos sells only fresh American lamb. Customers can buy a whole leg, a seasoned rack, loin chops, or chunks on kabobs. It is all custom cut.
“Lamb leg is the toughest cut of meat to carve out correctly to keep from getting a lot of gristle. It’s not like cutting a piece of steak. The lamb leg is tricky,” he said.
At this time of year, the market primarily sells the marinated kabobs for the grill.
“Cook it 15 or 20 minutes tops and it will be fabulous,” Katsoupis said. He is happy to answer any customer questions, from preparation tips to side dish suggestions.
Liamos also sells beef and pork, including prime rib and rib eye and strip steaks. There is also Gorton available — a Canadian pork spread.
Olga bakes koulourakia, a lightly sweetened cookie shaped into a twist and sprinkled with sesame seeds, and kourablades, a Greek butter cookie coated in powdered sugar. For the upcoming Greek Orthodox Easter, she makes the traditional bread with red eggs baked in the dough. Of course, they’ll have baklava, with its crispy phyllo dough full of nuts and honey, and spinach pie made with phyllo dough, spinach and feta cheese. Customers can purchase an entire sheet of the pie, or six-piece packages.
Besides the products made in house, the market also sells imported items, primarily from Greece and Italy. These include tins of stuffed grape leaves (or jars of leaves to fill at home), honey, pastas, dried lima beans, sea salt and olive oils. Katsoupis sells Kalamata olives he marinates in spices and olive oil.
“What makes our olives different ... is the high-quality olive oil and our secret spices,” he said.
He also sells imported Greek cheeses. The semi-hard Kasseri, the sharp Kefalograviera, and the medium Vlahotiri are good appetizer selections and match well with the olives. There are both imported and domestic feta cheeses, as well as Miznopa, a very hard cheese similar to a dried ricotta.
Even with all these unique items, the lamb is still the focal point. Katsoupis has one customer who drives in from Fremont to buy packages that he then takes to Georgia, North Carolina or Texas on vacation. Customers can also place special orders with a one-week advance notice.
“Some people walk in and think it is a corner market,” he said. “We’ll sell them a Coke, but we are a specialty store. Everything is geared toward the lamb.”