A Better Gyro: The Story of Gréco Fresh Grille, Charlotte Magazine

Food, Magazine

A look inside Greco Fresh Grille in Charlotte for Charlotte magazine.

FOR 40 MINUTES, Vasili Pahountis and his family waited in line for a chicken gyro at the Yiasou Greek Festival. They were new to Charlotte and excited to see such a vibrant Greek community, a comforting piece of their heritage in a new city. But after one bite, they decided to stick with the festival’s entertainment.

That was in 2010. Now, Gréco Fresh Grille has three locations in the Charlotte area: in Blakeney, Wesley Chapel, and Colony Place. Vasili, who most customers know simply as Bill, splits his time among the three, zipping around town in his Porsche Boxster convertible, royal blue like the Aegean Sea that surrounds his family’s home island of Karpathos, Greece.

Photo by Peter Taylor

25 Best New Restaurants in Charlotte 2017, Charlotte Magazine

Food, Magazine

Contributed to the biannual listing of Charlotte’s best new restaurants for Charlotte magazine. Here’s an excerpt from my description on Nellie’s Southern Kitchen located in Belmont, N.C.

Just as I shove an entire extra-large, crispy onion ring in my mouth, the band at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen starts playing and I hear a voice I recognize.

No, it’s not a Jonas Brothers reunion show, but given that the restaurant is owned by Kevin Jonas Sr., the father of the heartthrob musicians who grew up in this town, that isn’t a long shot. Instead, I look up, fingers still coated in grease, and see my server, Jake, gripping a microphone on stage, apron and all, as he sings the country hit “Buy Me A Boat” by Chris Janson.

Nellie’s Southern Kitchen, which opened last June, has a rooftop seating area with TVs for watching sports; modern accent pieces, including half a dozen white dove chandeliers; craft cocktails; and even some Jonas family paraphernalia in the back hallway. Although the décor is trendy, the food steers toward the timeless, giving diners Southern classics—chicken ’n’ dumplings, pulled pork, collard greens, shrimp and grits—without sacrificing the cool vibe.

READ MORE: http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/January-2017/25-Best-New-Restaurants-2017/