by Sarah Kamenetz | NYUNews.com
Traditional Greek eatery Souvlaki GR is finally settling down after a year on the road. The food-truck-turned-restaurant opened its doors on March 21 and has already garnered a loyal following.
Souvlaki GR serves traditional Greek food, including the disk it’s named for (skewered meat, often served on pita bread with vegetables or fried potatoes), coffee, salads, fries and loukoumades (sweet fried dough), all for under $10.
Owners Pavlos and Abby Sierros built the restaurant by hand, from constructing the rafters to painting the walls. The trademark of Souvlaki GR is the authenticity of the food and the atmosphere. Abby explained that customers can walk into Souvlaki GR and get a taste of home.
“We want people to have a casual and unpretentious experience,” Abby said.
The Greek-style blue doors, stone steps outside the restaurant, Greek newspapers, magazines and candies will make patrons forget they’re not stepping into a real taverna in Greece.
“I have actually visited Greece and this [restaurant] reminds me of Greece with the tavernas and the vines on the rooftop,” said Katie Rosen, a diner in the restaurant.
Abby explained that despite the state of the economy, Souvlaki GR has been a quick and profitable success for three reasons: affordability, quality and authenticity.
“Our sandwiches are $4, the quality is insane — my husband is not afraid to throw away food that isn’t fresh — and our food is made exactly the way it is made in Greece,” she said. “It is traditional and tastes like home.”
I ate a complimentary chicken pita souvlaki ($4.50), which is not your run-of-the-mill street meat pita. The charcoal-grilled meat rolled inside a warm pita with tomato, red onion, hand-cut fries sprinkled with salt and pepper and tzatziki sauce would impress any Greek foodie. My only complaint was that the fries were a little too salty.
“It is very ethnic here, which creates a nice atmosphere. These vegetables are classically cut, just like in Greece, and really fresh. The salad is really good,” diner Frank DeAngelis said.
As for the future of Souvlaki GR, Abby and Pavlos hope to open a few more taverna-style restaurants that have a limited menu and specialize in souvlaki.
If you aren’t hanging out in the Lower East Side, you can always catch the Souvlaki GR food truck around the city. You can find out when and where the food truck is on Twitter @souvlakitruck. The Souvlaki GR restaurant is located at 116 Stanton St. between Essex and Ludlow streets. To contact Souvlaki GR about catering or take-out deliveries, call 212.777.0116.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 6 print edition. Sarah Kamenetz is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.