“This is the place I had the dream to come to”
Georgios Takos rides through northern Wyoming in his Greek-food truck with a souvenir New York license plate on the wall, a reminder of the place he once thought would bring his American dream to life.
Growing up in Greece, Takos longed to live in the America he saw in movies, the America where everyone wanted to go. He was elated when he arrived in New York City in 1986.
There were tears in his eyes as he left 15 years later, days after 9/11 shattered his sense of safety and his impression of his adopted hometown.
“This wasn’t the America I remember when watching those John Wayne movies back home ... the place it was when I first arrived,” he thought.
He headed for restaurant work in Arizona, then California, where he met his wife, Karine, a teacher. She persuaded him one summer to visit her home state of Montana.
There, and now in the couple’s new hometown of Powell, Wyoming, he found the America he’d imagined — the wide-open West, the feeling of freedom.
As Takos launched his food truck, the Greek Station, Westerners largely embraced “the New York Greek guy.” And Takos embraced Wyoming — “the real America,” he says, where he finds life less rushed and people more caring.
“This is the place I had the dream to come to 40 years ago,” he says.