The Gateway to Athens? More like The Gateway to YUM!

Well hello! It’s been a while since I did a review. Mom got sick, we moved, our bunny had to have his teeth removed, and we got a new kitten.

Since we moved, I have been telling my parents I needed to find a good Greek restaurant. Mission accomplished!

Tonight, we went to The Gateway to Athens. It’s a small family owned and operated place here in Concord.

The first thing we noticed is that it was really busy. We were told it would be about 10 minutes and that if we would like, we could order now and have our food ready sooner. That was nice. We decided to wait. It was about 10 minutes. The second thing we noticed was everyone was very polite and friendly. We felt very welcome. The third thing we noticed were the desserts, but more about that later.

We wanted some pita and tzatziki. We were not disappointed. It was delicious. The say on their menu it’s “Mama’s recipe.” Mama is a genius.

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The pita slices were fresh and warm. The tzatziki was amazing.

We ordered our meals and what me and dad ordered came with a house salad. Everything was very fresh. Their house made Greek dressing was delicious.

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I got Moussaka. It was delicious. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but the eggplant was cooked right and the flavors were well-balanced and wonderful.

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I did not realize Dad had never had Greek food. He ordered Pastichio, which is Greek lasagna basically.

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Dad said he likes Greek food and wants to eat it often. The Pastichio was great he said.

Mom ordered a grilled chicken salad. She was not prepared for the size of this thing.

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Mom said the chicken was amazing. She let me try a bite. I agree. It was really well seasoned and tender. The salad veggies were very fresh. She said it was probably going to be about 4 meals for her. It was HUGE.

Me and dad are professional eaters and we can eat A LOT. Neither of us could finish our meals. Portions here are pretty large. That turned out to be a good thing because we did have room for dessert.

Dad got their ice cream sandwich with fresh-baked jumbo cookies.

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He said it was delicious.

I ordered something I had never seen: A baklava sundae. Brandi, who does the baking, explained they crush up their fresh baklava, top it with ice cream, cinnamon, honey, and whipped cream. Look at this thing!

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I don’t even have words for how good it was.

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Mom ordered the baklava. She said it was the best she had ever eaten.

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Are you hungry yet?

Oh, one other cool thing I should mention is they have a card. You can earn a stamp for each $8 you spend and you can earn multiple stamps in a visit. On the 10th stamp, you get $8 off. Pretty cool.

So, here is how I rated them:

  • Space and accessibility – 3 If you use a wheelchair you are likely to have some challenges here just because of the way the entrance is laid out from outside. If not, you will be ok.
  • Sanitation – 5 Everything was very clean.
  • Friendliness of staff – 5 The staff were all really friendly, very nice and helpful.
  • Service time – 5 Surprisingly fast. Big bonus that they will take your order before you are seated during really busy times.
  • Overall taste – 5 Really good! I mean REALLY good.
  • Bang for your buck – 5

I highly recommend this place. I can’t wait to go back

-the dude

School’s out for summer! Now let’s get some blogging done.

I really didn’t do as good a job balancing college and blogging as I had wanted to. I have several reviews ready to go, but I need to get mom to help me so next week there will be a few.

I live in Concord now, but still close to Charlotte. I have been exploring Concord, Kannapolis, and Harrisburg, NC restaurants and I have had some really good meals.

I have all summer to eat and blog and work on finding balance before my next semester of college starts. So if you have a place around Concord/Charlotte and surrounding area you’d like to see me review, drop me a note and let me know.

Spoiler alert: Garafola’s Italian Restaurant is amazing. Caprese pizza! More on that soon.

– the dude

I’m still here, things are just kinda crazy.

My first semester of college will be over in just a few weeks. It really has gone by fast. Mom got sick so she couldn’t help me with my blog for a while. Turns out I really do still need her help. At least she is getting better now.

On top of that…

Mom and Dad bought a house! It’s really awesome. It is just one story so I won’t have to do stairs anymore and has a ramp for when I use my walker. Mom and Dad have been super busy trying to get it ready to move into. It needed some work. So…I have mostly been working on school and trying to be patient. I’m really ready to move, but the house isn’t quite ready yet. Mom and Dad have been working there every day.

I’m going to try to get a review in this week, but I might not be able to until after we get moved. So if you have some restaurant suggestions for when things calm down, let me know!

-the dude

Viva Chicken

One of my doctors was telling me she really liked this place called Viva Chicken and suggested I try it out. So I did.

Viva Chicken is a “Peruvian Rotisserie Joint” and they have some very interesting dishes.

I decided to try Yuca. I’m sure if you like Yuca, it is delicious. It just turns out I apparently do not like Yuca. But hey, I tried something new.

This is what I had for my meal: Sopa de Pollo with cilantro infused rice. It was all DELICIOUS!

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This is what Spencer had: The Yummy Yuca

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The side is Solterito that had corn, goat cheese, and other things. It was all really good and VERY fresh.

If you’re looking for chicken but done differently than the usuals (KFC, Bojangle’s, Popeye’s, etc.) I definitely recommend it.

Here’s how I rated them:

  • Space and accessibility – 5 Everything was laid out nicely for me to get around, but if you use a wheelchair you might have some challenges here.
  • Sanitation – 5 Everything was very clean.
  • Friendliness of staff – 5 The staff were all really friendly, very nice and helpful.
  • Service time – 5 Surprisingly fast.
  • Overall taste – 5 Really good!
  • Bang for your buck – 5

I’ve already been back twice since this visit.

Sometimes what you see is not what you get, and that can be a very good thing.

A reader gave me some suggestions of places to try in Mooresville, NC. One of the places they suggested was a place called Jeffrey’s. I checked out their menu on their website and it seemed right up my alley. So yesterday, me and Spencer went to try it out.

When we first walked in we thought we might have made a mistake. We’re pretty casual and this place looked anything but. We quickly felt right at home once the first person greeted us with a “Hey, ya’ll! Welcome to Jeffrey’s!”

It’s a really nicely decorated place and they even have a patio area with an outdoor fireplace. We liked that it wasn’t noisy. The bar is separate from the main dining room and they have another room with pub tables. The main dining room is really elegant. It’s almost like three restaurants in one.

Their menu has some interesting choices. It’s Low Country cuisine with a spin.

Spencer had the club sandwich with a side of sweet potato casserole. Spencer said “The sandwich was amazing. It wasn’t overly stacked with meat, had great flavor, and the bread was really good. The portion was just right: I wasn’t still hungry but I didn’t need a couch. You could taste the freshness in the ingredients. The sweet potato casserole in one word: Thanksgiving. It was very well balanced. Just great stuff.”

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I got fried green tomatoes as an appetizer.

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They were really good. They were crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Sometimes you get fried green tomatoes and they are dry and just not really good at all. Not the case here! There was a sauce with them that was mildly sweet and it went very nicely with the tomatoes. I’d recommend them. If you’ve never had fried green tomatoes, these would be great for your first experience.

I had shrimp and grits. Now I should tell you when I read on the menu that they put cheese in the grits, I thought it would either be really really good or really really bad.

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It was really really REALLY good. Sometimes, shrimp and grits wind up bland or overly seasoned. These were just right. The grits were cooked to perfection. If you aren’t from the South you probably hate grits if you’ve ever tried them and that’s probably because they weren’t cooked right. It’s an art. The addition of cheese took them to a whole other place and it gave a nice balance to the dish. Note to wimpy people like my mom: these have a little kick. Not much, but a little, and not the kind that makes you sweat or get on a first name basis with Jesus or invent swear words. Most people would be able to handle it and enjoy it. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

 

In addition to some really nice menu choices, they offer daily specials which you can check out here or on their Facebook page here.

They do not show dessert on their menu. Ordinarily that would make me sad, but you won’t have room for it anyway, so it works out.

So thanks, Heavenly Hoagie for the recommendations. I’ll be sure to try the other places you suggested and of course I am going to have to come visit you, too.

So here’s how I rated them:

  • Space and accessibility – 5 Everything was laid out nicely for me to get around and if you use a wheelchair you would be fine here. They do have an upstairs, but there is plenty of room on the first floor.
  • Sanitation – 5 Everything was very clean.
  • Friendliness of staff – 5 The staff were all really friendly, very nice and helpful.
  • Service time – 5 Surprisingly fast.
  • Overall taste – 5 Really good, so so so good. Highly recommend.
  • Bang for your buck – 3 It’s not the cheapest place you could go, but it’s very reasonable for what you get.

I’ll definitely be going back. You should try it, too. Go to Jeffrey’s, ya’ll!

-the dude

Belmont’s best kept secret

Today I went to Demetrio’s in Belmont, NC. Before I tell you about it, I have to tell you how I wound up there.

Our mail lady flagged my mom down one day to introduce herself when she took over our route. It was nice of her to do that. We had a seriously terrible mail lady before. She tried to run over my dad in our driveway once. Anyway, our new mail lady told mom all about her son who also has some issues like me. Mom told her about my blog. Well, a couple weeks ago, she saw my story in the paper and she told mom she got a copy. Mom said she was very excited for me. Then yesterday, mom and dad came upstairs laughing after they got the mail. Barbara, our mail lady, had left me this:

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One thing I like as much as pizza is breakfast food. So today, Spencer and I went to try breakfast there.

It’s a place you might describe as a greasy spoon. Nothing fancy and definitely been there for a long time.

One thing we noticed right away was how nice everyone was. I like that. Sometimes, I go into a place and feel uncomfortable as soon as I walk in. This place was not like that.

They have a pretty good selection of breakfast food. I got corned beef hash, french toast, and hash browns and Spencer got the breakfast special. For $5.15 you get two eggs however you like them, bacon or sausage, grits or hash browns, and a biscuit or toast. The portions are large. If you leave here hungry, you did something wrong.

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It was good. Think home cooking that you don’t have to cook. What I didn’t know because Barbara only left me the breakfast menu is that they have pizza and other items as well. In fact, pizza is what they are locally known for. They also have other things like sandwiches, pasta, salads, pretty much a good assortment of a lot of things.

So here’s how I rated them:

  • Space and accessibility – 4 The tables are a little close together, but most people would be able to get around fine.
  • Sanitation – 5 Everything was clean.
  • Friendliness of staff – 5 The staff were all really nice and helpful and this is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone on a first name basis.
  • Service time – 5 Surprisingly fast.
  • Overall taste – 5 Really good home cooking style breakfast.
  • Bang for your buck – 5 It costs more to get less at Bojangle’s, sorry Bo.

I plan on going back and being one of those people they know on a first name basis. I’d definitely recommend their breakfast. I’ll let you know what I think of their other menu choices when I try them. Definitely going to try the pizza. I might be obsessed with pizza.

Demetrio’s, if you’re listening, you should put your menu online, maybe on your Facebook page. Mom tried to find a website for you but I guess you don’t have one.

– the dude

It’s like Subway, but it’s Pizza and it’s not bad!

I like pizza. If you’ve read my blog before you probably figured that out. I had seen a newer pizza place riding around with Spencer one day so I decided to try it.

It’s called Firenza and I went to the one by Northlake Mall. So why did I say it’s like Subway? Well, because the set up is very similar. You walk in and they have all the toppings in an area and you tell them what you want and they assemble it and cook it, very similar to ordering at Subway. Just so you get the concept. Not an endorsement of Subway. Not that I hate Subway, but I think it’s good to end the comparison there.

You don’t just get to choose toppings, though. You get to choose your sauce (they even offer BBQ sauce!) as well as how you want the crust finished. You have a lot of options, including gluten free if that’s your thing. I didn’t try that though so I can’t tell you how it is.

They have things other than pizza, like wings and salads. Here’s their menu.

This was my pizza. I ate it all.

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Overall, it was good. Here’s how I rated it:

  • Space and accessibility – 4 The tables are a little close together, but most people would be able to get around fine.
  • Sanitation – 4 Everything was clean.
  • Friendliness of staff – 5 The staff were all really nice and helpful and gave good suggestions on things to try and how things work.
  • Service time – 5 Surprisingly fast.
  • Overall taste – 5 Really good moderately priced fast custom pizza.
  • Bang for your buck – 4 Not bad for custom built made to order pizza.

If you are craving higher end pizza, you might be disappointed. It’s better than Domino’s or Pizza Hut by a mile though and I’ll definitely go back.

If you decide to try it, let me know if you agree with my review.

– the dude