A few kilometers away from the town of Kos, there is a small, quiet village next to a forest that has natural springs and dozens of ruined houses. Walking around gives you an eerie feeling as you half expect to see an elderly woman sitting on the front porch or a housewife tidying up.
The village of Haihoutes, known today as Aghios Dimitrios, was gradually abandoned by its inhabitants in the 1960s. It is said that they slowly descended to the island’s fertile plains until nobody was left in the village. For years there was nothing there but debris, collapsed ceilings and ruins, surrounded by dense, wild vegetation.
Tourists who enjoyed hiking started coming here on expeditions as they explored the region. The village did not even have running water.
Then, in 2013, Alexis Pretzas thought of reviving the dilapidated village kafeneio (a traditional coffee-house and eatery) that belonged to his wife’s family. The reopened kafeneio first started serving coffee and a selection of meze. Solar panels and portable generators were used for electricity.
Five years later, the kafeneio acquired a wood-fired oven and its menu became quite substantial, with dishes such as goat stuffed with rice and liver, chickpeas, seasonal salads and appetizers, as well as bulgur with pork, a traditional dish on Kos.
The kafeneio still relies on solar power and generators.