Little Greek Fresh Grill It’s all Greek – and all good

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What: Little Greek Fresh Grill

Where: 220 Boardman-Canfield Road, Boardman

Hours: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., seven days a week

Telephone: 330-953-1135

Website: http://bit.ly/2zRzakP

Opa!

In the hustle and bustle of Route 224, there is a little spot serving up a staple of tasty Greek dishes.

So here we are in a new place, meeting our new friends George and Pattie Kampos, who were eager to tell us their story. George and Pattie’s history goes back to the same neighborhood in the Bronx. Though they attended the same high school, they didn’t meet until after graduation.

George’s entry in the food business started early in life. His father ran a diner from 1959 to 1987. As a young lad, George would stand on a milk crate and tug on his dad’s shirt, eager to get his attention while his dad worked in the kitchen.

When he enlisted in the Air Force, George worked as a cook specialist during his stint. Then, after working 22 years in the federal bureau of prisons, the last eight locally as a Food Service Administrator at Elkton, George decided to retire. Well, almost.

He and Pattie, who also retired from teaching in Canfield, decided that this community would be a good place to start a business. And with that in mind, they looked to their roots. After some due diligence, they took a leap of faith and opened up a franchise of the Little Greek Fresh Grill.

The restaurant features recognizable Greek fare, served in a comfortable casual atmosphere. George offered to serve us an array of dishes of which he was especially proud.

Our meal started with a hot bowl of their signature soup, avgolemono. The Little Greek makes this classic dish by using rice, chicken, chicken stock, eggs and lemon juice. This soup had the perfect amount of lemon flavor without overpowering the flavor of the chicken and rice. It’s an offering that would be good in the middle of summer or the dead of winter. A solid start.

We were next served two of their more popular starters, dolmades and fried pita chips with tzatziki sauce. The dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, rice and onions. These were nicely accented by the lemon sauce that was served on the side. The pita chips reminded us of a Greek version of nachos. Crisp pita chips served with tzatziki, a sauce made of sour cream, garlic, cucumbers and lemon juice. Both appetizers were tasty and ones we would order again.

The two appetizers were followed by horiatiki, a signature salad made without lettuce. Featuring chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, green peppers and pepperoncini, this salad is topped with a small scoop of potato salad and feta cheese and served with a housemade vinaigrette. We loved this salad. It had salty feta, tangy pepperoncini and crisp vegetables. We were a little skeptical about the addition of the potato salad, but it worked. Delicious.

When we looked at the menu, we knew we had to try the pastitsio, one of their signature entrees. This is essentially a Greek lasagna made with layers of penne pasta, ground beef and a topping of bechamel sauce. The beef has just a hint of cinnamon, while the creamy bechamel had the slightest flavor of nutmeg. As big fans of comfort food, we really enjoyed this wonderful, satisfying dish.

George and Pattie recommended samples of their various skewers. A plate appeared with chicken, sirloin beef, lamb and salmon skewers served over rice. While they wouldn’t share what was in the marinade, the fragrance of rosemary scented the lamb marinade. These flavorful skewers were cooked nicely with a char from the grill. The rice was tender. The tzatziki sauce went great with the grilled meats.

You shouldn’t go to The Little Greek Fresh Grill without trying their gyro. George explained that the gyro meat is made up of 90 percent beef and 10 percent lamb. He takes a soft pita and fills it with a generous portion of meat along with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and tzatziki sauce. We opted to get a side of their popular feta fries – fresh-cut potatoes, fried crispy and topped with the slightly salty feta cheese. A perfect accompaniment to the pita sandwich.

The Little Greek has a varied selection of Greek desserts and pastries. George noted that some are made in-house, and others come from his parish, St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church in Boardman. We opted to end our meal with the housemade rice pudding. This version is served cold and made with rice, milk, eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla and butter, and topped with a dusting of cinnamon. Simple ingredients, made with care: a dish that Ya-Ya would approve.

George and Pattie are hoping that word of mouth will continue to spread about their new endeavor. Seems to be happening, as in the recent week, we’ve had a handful of friends already tell us we should try it out. The Little Greek Fresh Grill is living up to its name.

We are always on the lookout for new and interesting places to eat, so if you have any in mind, drop us a line at brothersinfood@gmail.com.