Remembering Joe Gressis
EXTRAORDINARY LIVING – DEDICATION
Writer: Rick Snider | Photographer: August Selckmann | Fall 2021
Joe Gressis loved people.
Galazio Restaurant & Bar in La Plata overflowed every Thanksgiving with those who had nowhere else to go. People who needed jobs were hired. Those requiring help need only ask and sometimes not even that.
Sadly, Joe passed away suddenly on Sept. 7 as Southern Maryland – This is Living was preparing to publish a story on his restaurant Galazio. Joe treated our staff with great kindness and warmth, even helping to identify photos literally hours before his passing. We plan to update and publish the story in the near future.
Joe’s Greek name was Iossif, which means “the one who adds.” Certainly, the outpouring of tributes talked of his generosity. Of helping so many non-profits, individuals and fellow Southern Marylanders.
The Arnold House of Waldorf posted on Facebook: “The community of Charles County lost a great advocate today. We mourn the loss of “Joe” Iossif Mario Gressis and remember his generous and thoughtful spirit. He always gave quietly and humbly, even through the pandemic – working to help those less fortunate. He called us to ask what people could use, whether it be milk by the truckload or vegetables. The world needs more Joe’s.”
Just 44-years old, Joe packed a lifetime of experiences. Born in Greece to Petras and Asimina Gressis, Joe spent one year in the Greek military as a cook before coming to the U.S. with his family at age 19. He quickly became an entrepreneur, buying one ice cream truck, then three more before selling them to open Ouzo’s Greek and Regional Cuisine in La Plata in 2002.
Joe opened Galazio in 2014, using the Greek word for blue as the new restaurant’s name. Ever expanding, he also opened Lucianna’s Steakhouse in Waldorf and two nearby OBO pizza restaurants. Joe even partnered with a former manager to open a restaurant in Albion, Mich.
Joe loved sharing his family dishes with his customers. He also enjoyed teaching about European wines. He was adamant about using only the freshest ingredients and would rise ahead of the day to hit the early morning markets.
This issue is dedicated to Joe Gressis, our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and employees.
TRADITIONAL GREEK VILLAGE SALAD – “HORIATIKI”
3 tomatoes (cut in wedges) Make sure nice and ripe, room temperature
1 medium red onion ( sliced rings)
1 English cucumber (sliced into thick half-moons)
1 green pepper (sliced long thin strips)
16 kalamata olives or more
1 large piece of feta cheese (use the Greek, no other kind!)
3 tsp. of cured capers
½ cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsps. of dry oregano
The secret to making a delicious Greek salad is ingredients: juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, creamy feta cheese, good quality extra virgin olive oil, and some Kalamata olives will make a difference.
Start by preparing your vegetables. Wash thoroughly and strain the vegetables. Cut tomatoes into wedges, slice onion into thin rings, cut cucumber into thick slices and place everything in a large bowl. Don’t forget to add the olives as well.
Season with salt and pour over extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Toss everything together so the flavors mix. Be careful not to add too much salt, as the feta cheese and the olives are salty enough. Greek salad (Horiatiki) is always served with feta cheese on top, a drizzle of olive oil, and dried oregano.