Mediterranean restaurants, we have. But Greek restaurants, not as much. Little Greek Restaurant to the rescue. This small chain from Florida will open two branches in North Texas, including one in Dallas, at the southwest corner of Walnut Hill and 75.
A branch will also open in Coppell, joining Little Greek's two other suburban branches in Richardson and Carrollton.
The Dallas location, which is slated to open in May, is going into a former bicycle shop, where it will be neighbors with Tupinamba, the Tex-Mex institution that just closed its Inwood location on January 31; Tupinamba intends to reopen at this new location in mid-February.
Little Greek was brought to Dallas by Jan and Barry Rosen, who discovered it on visits to Tampa.
"I loved the salad dressing. I had them ship it to me by the case," Jan says. "All my friends would buy it from me. I guess you could compare it to a creamy Italian. It has a lot of seasonings, and there's a little sweetness."
But you can't pin a restaurant's fortunes on salad dressing alone. "The reason I thought it would work is because we have Greek restaurants, but none that are fast casual," she says. "We cook to order in front of you. And we get our gyro meat and pita bread from Chicago."
They do quite a bit of catering for organizations like the Dallas Cowboys and hospitals, which Jan enjoys, because her mother was a caterer too. The location's proximity to Medical City Hospital was a deciding factor.
"We weren't even going to do another location, but when this property became available, it made sense," she says.
The menu includes familiar Mediterranean staples — hummus, of course, and baklava, and skewers of herbed chicken and beef served over rice — but also items unique to Greek cuisine such as moussaka and pastitsio.
"We want to differentiate ourselves from the Mediterranean places," she says. "Our Greek salad is unique because it's topped with a scoop of potato salad and a red beet," Jan says. "That's a Florida thing, but transformed into Dallas too."