Mick's Picks: Next time you find yourself near Gateway Village, treat yourself to a lunch from the Little Village Grill. You'll know how to find it by the line of people snaked around the building, lured by the aroma of olive oil and meat sizzling on a flat top.
John and Hresanthe Georgopoulos own and operate this workhorse of a kitchen standing side-by-side. I'm not speaking in some marital cliche They have clearly mastered a trade passed down from their families kitchens and restaurants. Watching them from the doorway is a mesmerizing demonstration in efficiency as they call out orders, pivot between the prep line and grill, take calls and plate meals. Most couples cooperate less making coffee, let alone sandwiched in a hot kitchen no wider than a narrow hallway working through the lunch rush at a breakneck speed. My food was ready within about eight minutes from the time I rolled up at the back of the twenty person line.
I met John in a submission wrestling class at Hard Target Martial Arts. We got to talking about Greek food and I mentioned how much I enjoyed the gyro at Showmars. John was modest when he suggested I come try the Little Village Grill and check out their gyro. Now I see why he didn't need to boast. Showmars has nothing on the Little Village Grill.
The lamb and beef was tender and savory. Seared on the fly so the meat stayed juicy, it comes wrapped in a warm grilled pita. Their tzatziki was plentiful and substantive with finely minced helpings of cucumber and spices folded into the Greek yogurt. A couple thin ribbons of sweet red onion helped give the gyro a little kick. It threw me when I unwrapped the foil and found a few fries submerged in the tzatziki. John came out to say hello and bus the tables during a momentary lull and explained that serving fries on the gyro is the way they'd be served in Greece. I told him I'm never going to Showmars for another gyro.
I made a combo of my meal and ordered a side of fries with an extra tzatziki for dipping. The fries at the Little Village Grill are just the kind I like- golden, not too thick, with those tiny bits of crunchy goodness all along the sides. At $6.75 for a combo which included an entre, drink and fries (or your choice of chips, slaw, pasta salad or Greek potato salad), this is a great deal for some fantastic food. I overhead a couple other patrons saying the potato salad is amazing.
Set in the footprint of the Johnson and Wales campus, I hope the ambitious culinary students are taking notice of the flavorful American and Greek fare crafted at the Little Village Grill. John and Hresanthe churn happy customers through the door and keep them coming back with fresh ingredients and time-tested recipes gratefully served at affordable prices.