Greek restaurant settling into neighborhood
A husband-and-wife team is bringing part of Greece to Grand Rapids.
Andreas Papangelopoulos, a native of Athens with a culinary degree in cooking, baking and pastry, and his wife, Nicole Thrasher-Papangelopoulos, opened Eklectico Greek Kouzina this summer in Alger Heights, at 2401 Eastern Ave. SE.
The pair formerly owned Penelope’s Creperie inside the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, which closed in 2016.
Thrasher-Papangelopoulos, who grew up in Alger Heights, said her husband’s dream was always to run a restaurant that served traditional, not Americanized, Greek food.
They purchased and renovated the building last year and opened the restaurant in June.
“The recipes are authentic family recipes and are made from scratch every day,” Thrasher-Papangelopoulos said. “Andreas is the chef and has a passion to teach people his ways and diet.
“Everything he does is exactly as it is in Greece. For example, you’d never be served a flaming saganaki (fried cheese) in Greece. The idea of lighting it on fire at the table and saying, ‘Opa!’ is something somebody made up for dramatic flair in America.”
Eklectico’s menu features traditional Greek dishes: such as moussaka, pastitsio and lamb kokkinisto stew; three kinds of souvlaki; Greek salads; homemade tzatziki dip served with pita bread; and a variety of appetizers.
The restaurant, which seats 30 people, serves lunch and dinner. It also offers takeout and catering.
Thrasher-Papangelopoulos said the business will soon launch a coffee hour, featuring hot beverages and Greek sweets during the afternoons.
Its hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday.