If you’ve read Evan Turner’s Facebook posts in the last few days, he’s been actively looking for a team to staff his soon-to-open Helen — his longtime dream of a Greek taverna soon to be realized in Rice Village.
He’s also on a hunt for décor, promising Helen won’t be the blue-walled, Santorini-esque murals, white faux stone you’d expect. As if to prove it, take Helen’s new logo, unveiled a few weeks ago: a green face, nearly in profile.
"That image was originally the photo of a statue, a Greek woman in three-quarter profile," Turner says, explaining he was captivated by the image. "Matthew Tabor, who did a lot of design work with the Clumsy Butcher group, created what you see now." The shade of green, says Turner, reminds him of Greece. "And it also feels leathered and a little older, like bronze that’s oxidized over time."
And that classic feeling, with just a touch of contemporary twist, is what he wants for Helen. He’s said from the get-go the menu will be in English, but he’s dedicated to serving authentic Greek dishes.
He also wants to pay homage to the country that enchanted him as a boy – and has captivated him since. "Originally, I wanted to call it Xorio," he says. Wait. What? "Exactly," he laughs. "I’d write it out and ask people how to pronounce it, and if it were a restaurant, what kind of food would it serve. I got a lot of answers like sushi, and people thinking it was Mexican." It means village in Greek – and was an embodiment of what he was trying to do with his restaurant.
But, Turner reasoned, there’d be enough education about food styles and an all-Greek wine list without the added challenge – albeit a fun one – of helping people see what’s in a name.
"And you know, most people, if they know anything about Greece or associate anything with it, they know Helen of Troy. And Helen as a name was simple, and elegant, and it points to being Hellenic. It really became just perfect."
The restaurant is still set for an early-
to mid- July opening