Nick Anthony is setting the table for a conversation about a disease that cut him to the core.
"I started learning about Alzheimer's disease and it dawned on me that my grandmother Katina, Yia Yia Katina, had died with dementia," Anthony said.
Anthony had the revelation after hiring an employee who had a family member suffering from the same debilitating condition. At the time of his grandmother's death, Anthony had no clue his Yia Yia (Greek for grandmother) was a victim.
"It was a tough thing to do," he said. "To watch a woman who was so vibrant and so alive and so active just deteriorate before my eyes to the point she didn't know who I was."
As a front-line advocate of the San Antonio & South Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, the founder and CEO of Papouli's Greek Grill restaurants commits annually to their effort to raise funds and awareness for their Walk to End Alzheimer's in October.
Meg Barron is executive director for the San Antonio office. She said Anthony is providing a new avenue for south Texans to open dialogue about the dreadful form of dementia that causes memory, thinking and behavior problems.
"5.4 million people are living in the United States with Alzheimer's disease. We need to be talking about that," Barron said.
Papouli's is setting up a purple table in all four locations. While the idea behind the purple table is not new, Barron said it will be to San Antonio.
"The purple table concept is to make caregivers and those living with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia comfortable," she said. "Coming out and overcoming the stigma of Alzheimer's disease."
Purple table reservations provide additional accommodations for those who live with Alzheimer's, dementia, autism, PTSD, and disabilities. Papouli's will use its tables for Alzheimer's and dementia through Nov. 30.
On the table, Barron said caregivers, as well as those who want to learn more about Alzheimer's, can grab pamphlets filled with an array of useful information.
Anthony has also created a brain-healthy plate in honor of his grandmother, called the Katina Plate.
"It's basically a Mediterranean diet," he said.
For $15, the Katina Plate comes with grilled salmon fillet, a green salad tossed in balsamic vinegar and farro grain. Anthony is donating 10 percent of the proceeds from each plate to the local Alzheimer's Association prior to its Walk to End Alzheimer's in October.
"We're honoring our grandparents through our Papouli concept," he said.