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Cities with lots of Greek restaurants and diners

Dan

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In the United States, the Greek restaurant seems like a very localized phenomenon. Here in the Cleveland metropolitan area, diners and "family style" restaurants owned by Greek-Americans are very rare. A few hours drive to the northeast, in Buffalo, you'll find Greek restaurants everywhere, even though there really isn't a large Greek population.

Most Greek restaurants in Buffalo aren't very ethnic; they're not the kind of places that serve whole lamb, or where you smash dishes and scream "OPA!" They might have a few Greek and Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dishes -- souvlaki, gyros and the like -- but for the most part they're family-style restaurants serving meat-and-three comfort food. Many are open 24 hours. In Buffalo, you don't impress a date by taking her to a Greek restaurant; it's like having a date at Denny's. (The Towne, though, in Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood, is considered a pick-up spot among that neighborhood's large "alternative lifestyle" population.)

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There's a lot of Greek restaurants in New Jersey, I've been told. I'm wondering ... are there other parts of the United States, or other countries (excepting Greece of course) where Greek restaurants are common? What form do they take there? Is there a large Greek population in those areas?
 

Tranplanner

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Lots of Greek restaurants in Toronto, and I think we have a fairly sizeable Greek population. There is a parade every June (?) celebrating Greek independence. Most of the Greek restaurants/travel agencies/social clubs/businesses are concentrated along a stretch of Danforth Avenue, known as "Greektown". Even the streetname signs are in Greek/English.
 

nerudite

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We only have a smattering of greek food in Edmonton. I think there are probably about a half-dozen or so. Asian food and Italian are probably the most common around here.

Just yesterday I tried to go out for my birthday to my favourite greek food place, but it was closed on Sundays. Bastards! I had my heart (or stomach rather) set on it, so I opted to wait until some other day to go instead of choosing another place to get dinner.
 

Gedunker

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Dan said:
There's a lot of Greek restaurants in New Jersey, I've been told.

My Jersey experience is similar to the one you described about Buffalo: meat-and-three diners owned and operated by Greeks, as opposed to predominantly Greek cuisine. Seems many of them are owned by folks named "Papadopolous".

I did eat at the Parthenon in Chicago years ago and it was very tasty. I looked for it this summer when the cousins were in town, but they didn't want enthic, so ...
 

mendelman

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here in Chicago, the Greektown area is on N/S Halsted St. on the near Westside.

You want Greek style/Greek owned restaurants, go the Metro Detroit. There are many great places to get gyros.

In the commercial portion of my apt. building, there is a quick-service diner that has some Greek style dishes, but is predominantly a typical (but extensive) diner menu.
 

BKM

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My hometown (Fort Wayne, Indiana) had a similar phenomenon of Greek-owned restaurants. Like Buffalo, no "Greek" food, though. Among others: A rib/steak/and potatoes place (excellent French Fries-especially when ordered "to go" and they steam in the foil package on the trip home), a pretentious pair of "seafood" restaurants (long departed), and the local "Big Boy" franchise.

Greek food is becoming bigger here in California. There is an EXCELLENT casual Greek eatery in Suisun City, ten minutes from the office. It borders a marina/walkway and is quite appealing. San Francisco has seen open several high end Greek places during the past few years, as well.
 

The Irish One

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There isn't a particularly large greek population in San Diego That I know of. If there's a greek restuarant it's usually the ethnic cuisine you're looking for. Aesop's in La Jolla used to be an excellent restaurant with fair prices, recently the food seems to be of a lesser quality :-\
 

Repo Man

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mendelman said:
You want Greek style/Greek owned restaurants, go the Metro Detroit. There are many great places to get gyros.

Also, near downtown detroit is Greektown, which features numerous Greek restaurants along with many bars and a casino. There is one restaurant there that I have eaten at every time I go to Detroit, New Hella's Cafe. They have excellent food. OPA!!
 

DecaturHawk

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The Chicago suburbs, as well as the city, are filled with Greek-owned restaurants. Most are advertised as "Family" diners; while they serve "Greek specialties" (gyros, Athenian chicken, souvlaki, etc.), the menus are usually dominated by comfort food. There are also inumerable Greek-owned fast food style joints that serve burgers and dogs but also have gyros and shisk-a-bobs. These places (at least in my part of the suburbs) were known for their employment of immigrant Latinos-legal and illegal. I remember once inspecting a garage that was owned by a nearby Greek diner that had 10 recently-arrived Mexican workers living in it.
 
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jsk1983

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It seems to me that Buffalo area Greek restaurants seem to, or at least alot of them, have rather generic names such as Tom's Restaurant (home of the souvlaki) in Amherst or the Village Grill in Williamsville.
 

Zoning Goddess

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Tarpon Springs FL, north of Tampa/St. Pete. The whole old downtown is Greek restaurants and shops, and I think they still have an active sponge-diving fleet.
 

pete-rock

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DecaturHawk said:
The Chicago suburbs, as well as the city, are filled with Greek-owned restaurants.

There's one in the southwest suburbs that I like. It's kinda weird, though -- it's a rib joint, owned by a Greek guy, with its entire wait staff comprised of recent Irish immigrants. I really like their food, and I love hearing the Irish accents of the waitresses.
 

H

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Zoning Goddess said:
Tarpon Springs FL, north of Tampa/St. Pete. The whole old downtown is Greek restaurants and shops, and I think they still have an active sponge-diving fleet.

I was there a few weeks ago. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Gyros and feta........:p
 

steveanne

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The Town of Greece

Born and raised in the suburb of Rochester known as Greece, with the high schools Olympia, Arcadia, Athena, and Odyssey, and the middle school Apollo. There's a few Greek diners (with names like the Olympia and Athena as well).
 

jmf

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For a small city, Halifax has a huge Greek population and lots of greek restaurants - Nerudite, Donk and I sampled OPA! at the CIP conference this summer.

There is a Greekfest every summer which I guess is huge - I haven't made there, yet.
 

B'lieve

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East Baltimore has a small Greektown, between Highlandtown and Bayview Med Center. Many of the Greeks are still there (like many of the Italians in Little Italy), and it hasn't developed a touristy side like Little Italy has; I've heard that quite a few people there have grape arbors and fig trees in their backyards. I don't know anything more beyond that. Hmmm, something to add to my list of places to explore over the next few years (starting this summer)...

Out in the suburbs, I really found any Greek restaurents/diners, except for a couple of chains (something called Enotria, in Forest Hill); about all of the Double-T Diner franchises around here are owned by Greeks, and largely staffed by Greeks. Again, mostly comfort food with some Greek dishes for variety (kabobs, lamb, i think souvlaki.)
 

steel

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Dan said:
In the United States, the Greek restaurant seems like a very localized phenomenon. Here in the Cleveland metropolitan area, diners and "family style" restaurants owned by Greek-Americans are very rare. A few hours drive to the northeast, in Buffalo, you'll find Greek restaurants everywhere, even though there really isn't a large Greek population.

Most Greek restaurants in Buffalo aren't very ethnic; they're not the kind of places that serve whole lamb, or where you smash dishes and scream "OPA!" They might have a few Greek and Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dishes -- souvlaki, gyros and the like -- but for the most part they're family-style restaurants serving meat-and-three comfort food. Many are open 24 hours. In Buffalo, you don't impress a date by taking her to a Greek restaurant; it's like having a date at Denny's. (The Towne, though, in Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood, is considered a pick-up spot among that neighborhood's large "alternative lifestyle" population.)

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Sorry to open up such an old thread but since this Panos Pic is here I just had to comment on this restaurant. Panos is planning to tear down the very fine Victorian house seen just beyond the restaurant. It is a travesty and is being faught by the neighborhood. Pano says he needs parking. I never set foot in the place becasue I thought his building was very tacky and was anti urban. Once the house is gone a long strip of Elmwood will be destroyed. Funny thing is, I bet most of Panos' costomers walk to the restaurant.
 

SkeLeton

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I must claim myself ignorant in this matter... I don't know any Greek restaurants in Chile, I guess there might be a few here in Santiago, but I have never been to one, it probably has to do with the scarce Greek population here; at least in comparison to western europeans like Germans (Really big), Swiss, French, Italian, and Spanish.
 

jresta

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I can't think of one diner i've ever been to in NJ (and i've been to a lot of them)
that wasn't owned by Greeks . . . and yes they all serve traditional american comfort food. That's not to say you can't find traditional Greek restaurants owned by Greeks as well.
 

The One

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Denver

Denver has several very nice Greek "joints", ranging from fine dining to the corner diner..The Diner on Colfax (I think) was the neatest and seemingly most authentic of the group.....and then there is the Greek festival every year at the local Orthodox Church (with a neat gold dome) and GREAT food :p

I'm only aware of one small Greek "hole in the wall" place in South Florida so far.....decent food....and is in Wilton Manors.
 

zman

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The One said:
Denver has several very nice Greek "joints", ranging from fine dining to the corner diner..The Diner on Colfax (I think) was the neatest and seemingly most authentic of the group.....and then there is the Greek festival every year at the local Orthodox Church (with a neat gold dome) and GREAT food :p

I'm only aware of one small Greek "hole in the wall" place in South Florida so far.....decent food....and is in Wilton Manors.

You beat me again TH, I was just going to enlighten Cyburbia on Greek Fest and the small Greektown in Denver. Actually my aunt married into a Greek family and I have been to the area of Denver and the Greek Fest for a couple years now. Great food, decent wine and an all-around fun time.

Kind of reminded me to visit the Greek place two blocks from work for lunch. Great Greek salads.
 

Miles Ignatius

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Too Fast On The Draw....

zmanPLAN said:
You beat me again TH, I was just going to enlighten Cyburbia on Greek Fest and the small Greektown in Denver. Actually my aunt married into a Greek family and I have been to the area of Denver and the Greek Fest for a couple years now. Great food, decent wine and an all-around fun time.

Kind of reminded me to visit the Greek place two blocks from work for lunch. Great Greek salads.

...you both beat me on this one. Denver's stretch of East Colfax has several solid establishments and in fact, has special signage identifying the area as "Greektown." In addition, there's the venerable "University Cafe" near D.U. that's operated by the same family that runs "Pete's Kitchen" on Colfax.

Next, of course, will be the Boulder Turnpike dot-com/dot-bomb vacant office corridor designation as "GeekTown" :D
 

DetroitPlanner

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Detroit has plenty of Greek restraunts serving greek food and also coney joints that are greek owned. To the uninformed a coney is basically a chili-dog. Coney joints range from just selling hot-dogs, to typical diner fare. We even have a greek casino that is run by native americans, not on a reservation but in the middle of Greektown. Go figure.
 

sleepy

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The difference between Green diners, and authentic Greek restaurants is interesting. I remember going to Chicago a few years ago and asking my cousin about Greek restaurants. She basically said when Chicagoans refer to Greek restaurants, most of the time they're talking about the meat and three places, but if I wanted authentic Greek the best bet was of course on Halstead.

I always thought this was some weird Chicago thing. Now I know better.

BTW--the Greek meat and three places were also really good and cheap for just basic food and lots of it.
 

Kovanovich

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Yes, I thought that "Greek" and "diner" were pretty nearly synonymous. For instance, even Winston-Salem, NC -- a city with a minuscule Greek population -- has plenty of Greek-owned diners. Basic diner food, with a southern twist, and baklava on the dessert menu. The Northern Virginia suburbs have lots of Greek diners too, even though again there is not a particularly large Greek population here.
 
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