Written by Paige Mcatee Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:00
The Greek Place, at 2144 Jericho Tpke., is not a normal, traditional Greek restaurant. They make food that exists nowhere else by taking traditional Greek cuisine and putting an international twist on it.
Owner Pete Kontoulakos calls his original style of cooking “fusion.” By combining Greek cuisine with popular international foods, he has created gyro tacos, gyro burritos, German gyros, Italian gyros, and gyro poppers.
His food has a little something for everyone, young and old.
“Because I’m an artist, I wanted to do something artistic, and something totally off the chain,” said Kontoulakos, who is a musician as well as a chef. “Being a chef, you have to be an artist.”
Kontoulakos loves seeing the look of satisfaction on people’s faces while they are eating his creations and he is constantly thinking of new ideas to add onto his menu.
“There’s a certain way I make my gyro that nobody does,” said Kontoulakos.
The secret is cooking gyro meat fresh. Kontoulakos buys the meat from Astoria, and keeps it refrigerated instead of having it sit out all day long.
Prior to opening up The Greek Place in 2009, Kontoulakos owned nine restaurants, with a 26-year cooking backgroundf. He grew up Greek, and his father also worked as a chef.
The Greek Place opened when Kontoulakos reconnected and decided to settle down with his wife and childhood sweetheart, Marcia. Originally, he opened up a large restaurant, but then realized he wanted an intimate setting. Kontoulakos went from 250 seats in his restaurant to eight in The Greek Place. “It’s a lot more personal,” he said. “I get to see who the customers are. Every person that comes in I get to talk to.”
Although The Greek Place does have a few seats inside of the restaurant, Kontoulakos stresses that his business is mostly take-out. They will deliver within a two-mile radius. In addition to the “Fusion” foods, The Greek Place offers traditional Greek cuisine as well.