Saturday, May 30, 2015

Greece is the word

Two new restaurant projects to add to Center City's Hellenic collection.

Greece is the word

Washington Square West is in line for not one but two new Greek-theme restaurants, effectively doubling the Center City neighborhood's Hellenic dining destinations (e.g. the BYOBs Kanella at 10th and Spruce and Effie's at 1127 Pine, though I am splitting hairs by excluding the posher Estia across Broad at 1405-07 Locust).

The new projects carry liquor licenses. 

1. George Tsiouris, whose extended family has been in the local restaurant business for half a century, will go before the Washington Square West Civic Association tonight with plans for a Greek-Mediterranean concept that he and his sister, Vasiliki, are (for now) calling Opa, at 1311 Sansom St. George Tsiouris says they'll cook traditional family recipes. The contemporary/modern/funky look, he says, will take inspiration from Athens' Gazi neighborhood. Opening is projected for spring. It's in the thick of what is emerging as the city's fastest-growing restaurant district. It's smack between Bar (due to open shortly) and Time; the soon-to-open Zavino is at the corner.

2. Then there's Ulysses Voyage, in the former Deux Cheminees at 1221-23 Locust St., a project I told you about in October. Owner Panayiotis "Peter" Carabatsos' original location is in L.A.'s Farmers Market. Carabatsos, who fell in love with the twin brownstones on a trip here, is saying "first week of February -- at least before Valentine's Day" for the opening. Menu will specialize in reasonably priced Greek meze (tapas), not "small small plates," as he explains it, with a wide menu variety catering even to vegans. (That said, there will be a lamb-shank omelet for brunch.) He's now debating whether to bring his mother and culinary inspiration, Voula, to the States to help chef Steve Brown set up the menu -- or simply to send Brown to her kitchen in Greece. As for decor: He told his designer to create a look that makes you feel you're sitting on a terrace in Santorini.
About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein
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