When you exit the Kerameikos metro station in Athens and head towards Gazi, you will emerge onto a small square. Directly opposite the station, you will find a concert venue called Technopolis marked by a large, rusted metal structure. Joe and I noticed the unusual circular framework right away, but not the extremely tall crane behind it. It’s amazing how long something in plain sight can remain invisible.
One evening, from our back balcony, we saw a platform hanging from the crane’s cable. As we stared, we realized there were people on it. Some quick googling explained the sight: these people were dining with Dinner in the Sky. After reading about the experience for two seconds, we agreed that we couldn’t miss it. And it would make a perfect surprise for my parents.
Neither Joe nor I knew quite what to expect, but we decided to keep it a secret. I had faith that my parents were not afraid of heights, but we asked anyway. As it turns out, my mother hates the edge but heights in general are fine. She is also a pescatarian who has several strong food preferences, but Dinner in the Sky didn’t bat an eye. Our cryptic questions certainly left the parents wondering what we had up our sleeves. We merely instructed them what to wear and to bring sunglasses.
On the night of The Dinner, we rounded the corner of the giant metal structure and the crane came into view. Joe and I had made every effort to distract my parents the night before as we walked by the elevated, colorfully lit platform. It worked – they had no idea. Their eyes grew wide, and I’m not sure I can repeat all of their utterances. I’ll just say this: excitement was in the air.
After we bonded with a couple from Michigan and made friends with a mother and son from Arkansas, our guides ushered us over to our seats. One of them carefully strapped us in while the other – the owner – climbed into position and hooked on his safety cable. The chef, a lively young woman perhaps in her late 20s, danced around the center of the platform wielding wine. As the crane began to lift us up, everyone toasted our health.
As the food came out and the wine flowed freely, we started to explore the range of motion of our chairs. I could swivel almost 90 degrees and look out over the city, my feet dangling over air. Midway through dinner, we also discovered that we could lean back almost flat. That freaked mom out a bit! There was nothing normal about this dinner.
There were, however, many exceptional features. The food was delicious and inventive: a trio of cold, summer soups, bulgar wheat and cod salad, shrimp saganaki, and tenderloin with latticed potatoes and veggies. The view was unbeatable and extensive. But the service stood out above all else. Alex, the owner, was both attentive yet unobtrusive. He took it upon himself to record noteworthy moments with our phones. He never let our wine glasses remain empty. He told us stories of his travels and about the love he has for his company. He seamlessly and happily accommodated my mother’s eating habits. He even lowered us back down to pick up a couple stragglers who were running late. I’ve rarely experienced such exceptional and genuine customer care.
Dining 120 feet above street level certainly added a new perspective to the enjoyment and appreciation of our food. It was an incredibly special experience to have with some of the people I love most in the world. We drank it all in, made new friends, and won’t ever forget it.