When I met Dimitri Fetokakis on the patio of his Montrose Greek-American cafe on Labor Day morning he was calm, cool, and as bright as one of the sunny side-up eggs that come nestled in the pitas on his new breakfast menu. He didn't seem at all like a restauranteur on the brink of opening day and a first foray into the satellite-location business. "I have a great staff," he replied with a smile when asked how he was keeping it all together.
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He does have reason to be happy. On September 13 a new, scaled-down version of Niko Niko's will officially open in the recently renovated Market Square in downtown Houston. The 375-square-foot kiosk will be walk-up service only, have outdoor seating and be ideal for take-and-eat customers. He invited me to come and sample some of the treats that will be available for "Greekfast" at both the downtown and Montrose locations.
One of the first hurdles in creating the new menu was how to pull off Niko's famous fries. There wasn't room for a fryer, and if they squeezed one in, it wouldn't be big enough to keep up with demand. After a trip to Greece, Dimitri thought about importing the ultra-crisp and herb-y potato chips sold in stores there, but he couldn't find a local distributor. His solution was to create his own version. Thick yet light, with the same seasonings at the fries, his chips will be transported from the original location to Market Square.
Come very, very hungry for Greekfast too. There are six different Greek breakfast burrito-ish pita sandwiches to choose from, and they are extra hearty. I tried the Spartan (gyro, sausage, fried egg, grilled onions and peppers), the Falafel (falafel, scrambled egg, onions and tomatoes), the Mediterranean (spinach, egg, onions and feta) and the Potato, Egg and Cheese (all that plus mushroom and kasseri cheese). Warm, fresh and moist, the Falafel was my favorite. It didn't at all suffer from the dryness that plagues some falafel. There will also be iced coffees and Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts available.
Fetokakis hopes his tasty food will entice downtown worker types to venture into the light of day and out of the tunnels. So Dimitri, how bout another Niko's outside the loop or outside of town? "Whoa, let's get through this one first," he says. "But I'll go wherever they'll have me."