Greek Taverna: A Love Story
Authentic Greek food and friendly, family-inspired service
Where do I begin to tell the story of how great a restaurant can be? A true love story that is older than the Aegean Sea … Although I hadn’t been to the Greek Taverna in several months, I have loved this place since it first opened in the spring of 2017. So, when my daughter and her family invited us to go last week, I jumped at the chance.
I have to confess that when I really like something, I have a tendency to gush. So, take my superlatives with a grain of salt. Actually, you can hold the salt, these folks season everything perfectly.
I became acquainted with the owners, Toula and Gee Suleymanian, when they first opened the restaurant over four years ago with Toula’s parents, Greg and Kitsa Panos. The Panos had been the original owners of the Crazy Greek Restaurant, which they had operated at the same location even before Toula was born. “I grew up in that restaurant,” she says.
When the Panos sold the business several years back, they held on to the property. And in 2017, they decided it was time for the family to get back into the game.
A large part of my affection for Greek Taverna centers on Toula and Gee, who have a knack for making guests feel like they’re having a family meal with their Greek cousins. On my recent visit, I was surprised and delighted to see many of the same staff have stuck with them through the travails of the past 19 months.
When my son-in-law invited us to go, my first thought was, hooray, I’m going to order their pastichio! That’s my favorite of all Greek foods. Pastichio is a Greek lasagna, primarily characterized by a delicious, creamy bechamel sauce. Toula’s is flavored perfectly. Some Greek restaurants don’t use enough cinnamon, in my opinion. That, to me, is what makes this delicacy stand out.
Relaxation Reigns in the Greek Isle of Hydra
But as much as I was anticipating my pastichio, here’s the rub. We ordered a couple of their Taverna Pikilia, sampler plates piled high with spanakopitas, tiropitas, keftedes, homemade sausage, feta, dolmades, olives, pita, and tzatziki. Plus, I admit, I also downed more than my fair share of their lightly fried calamari. By the time the server came back to take our dinner order, I was stuffed.
I still have visions of pastichio dancing in my head, so I’m sure I’ll be heading back very soon. Maybe you should do the same. Plan a visit to the Greek Taverna and let your own love story begin.
Greek Taverna, Richmond, Virginia
Happy Hour of the Week: Lalo’s Cocina Bar & Grill
Many of the restaurants that I visit regularly are places where the owner and staff have become good friends. Dining is such a social thing, after all. Like Greek Taverna, this week’s restaurant recommendation, Lalo’s Cocina Bar & Grill has always been my go-to for Mexican fare.
The food is excellent, but I’m drawn there primary because of Lalo and his friendly, personable staff. Everyone is just so darn friendly and helpful. It’s a happy place to go, especially happy during happy hour, which runs from 3 to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Before I get to that, let me tell you about some excellent daily deals. Every Monday, Lalo’s hard- or soft-shell tacos are offered at just $2 each. On Tuesdays, his authentic and quite delicious street tacos are $3 each. They also offer the Tropical Margarita for $12 every Tuesday. The drink incorporates Tropical Energy Red Bull and Blue Curacao. On Wednesdays, shots are five bucks.
Here are the daily happy hour specials:
- PBR – 16 oz. – $3
- Budweiser – 16 oz. can – $3
- Miller Life – pints – $3
- Beer – Mexican pints – $4.50
- House wine – $5
- House Margaritas – $5