, appropriately named, located at 2144 Jericho Tpke. is like a little taste of Greece from the minute you walk in. The walls are blue and white, there are grapes hanging all around and the smell of Souvlaki fills the air.
Open for just over a week, owner George Marinos and his partner and chef Pete Kontoulakos already taste the success their little eatery is bringing them.
“It’s been very busy, very steady; it’s only been a week,” Marinos said. “We haven’t had our grand opening yet because we didn’t want to go ‘boom’ yet, we wanted to ease into things.”
The partners were given the OK to open from the Town of North Hempstead a couple of weeks ago and will have their grand opening celebration soon.
“Basically this place is why I’m here,” Kontoulakos said. “I want it to be part of the town and part of the American Dream, if you will…We tried to make it a fun-loving little cozy place; nothing extravagant.”
The two New Hyde Park residents met while Kontoulakos was wooing Marinos’s sister, and next month they will officially be brothers-in-law, although they just refer to each other as “brothers.”
“We live two blocks down and we drove by this place and everything just fit,” said Marinos. “It’s the perfect place for a gyro place and that’s what we wanted; something small, something that’s take-out and delivery and a couple of tables.”
While you can sit at one of the five tables and enjoy a meal or play some video games in the corner of the room, The Greek Place is predominantly take-out and delivery and offers curb-side pick-up with a wireless credit card machine so you don’t have to leave your car, especially in the winter months.
“We try to make it easier because parking is horrendous around here,” Marinos said. “A lot of people drive by and say, ‘We didn’t know you were here,’ and then you have the other half that [heard about us] through word-of-mouth or Facebook.”
Both Greek, Marinos and Kontoulakos understand the “true taste of Greece” from their popular gyros or Greek burgers and salads, but Kontoulakos wanted a place that offered more than just that.
“It is The Greek Place, but I wanted it to be more of American-Greek, so that’s why I have my pretzels and hot dogs as well for the kids because I have kids and no kid likes Greek food,” said Kontoulakos, a 25-year chef. “We make 99 percent of the things fresh here.”
A gyro goes for about $5.95 or you can build your own sandwich for $9.95. Other options on the menu include burgers, personal pita pizzas, specialty hero sandwiches and salads, specialty items, beverages and desserts.
“The gyro is the thing [people] can’t get anywhere else,” Marinos said. “So they mostly get the gyros or the shish-kebab souvlaki. Those are the two big sellers.”
Ultimately the two partners just wanted to bring a new flavor to the New Hyde Park area.
“There is no gyro place or Greek place around here,” Marinos said. “We want to be here for quite a long time.”