Feb 20, 2019 - Food and Drink

Local Greek restaurant Greco Fresh Grille is expanding like crazy – South End could be next

If you haven’t yet heard of Greco Fresh Grill, I’m willing to bet that it’ll soon be a household name in Charlotte, joining the ranks of Sabor Latin Street Grill and YAFO Kitchen.

The local, fast-casual Greek chain has grown from one location to five over the past eight years and shows no signs of slowing down.

For now, Greco Fresh Grill’s presence is concentrated in south Charlotte and surrounding areas. Their OG location can be found in Blakeney, which owner and CEO Vasili Pahountis opened back in 2011.

“When we first opened business was a little slow,” he recalls. “We’re situated right in between Five Guys and Brixx and I think people just didn’t know who we were.”

After the Charlotte Observer came and did a review of the place, Greco Fresh Grille got some serious momentum. “That really put us on the map,” says Pahountis.

Now, along with Blakeney, you can find Greco Fresh Grill in Wesley Chapel and Colony Place. And early this spring they are opening a restaurant in Steele Creek and one in Matthews.

Peruse the menu and you’ll find Greek favorites like lamb gyros, Greek salads, spinach pie triangles and homemade Baklava. Menu items are affordable too – around $7 for a gyro.

Lamb gyro – warm grilled pita with lamb, tzatziki, tomato, and red onion ($6.95)

“My dad was a chef and my mother was an amazing cook, so that’s where I got my love of food, ” says Pahountis. He was brought up in the restaurant business, doing everything from washing dishes to busing tables. Back then, his family was running New Jersey diners with massive menus.

When he moved down to Charlotte, he took everything he learned, refined it and put it into Greco Fresh Grille.

“I’m really proud of our menu and our flavors, ” says Pahountis. The food feels both traditional and modern. And so does the atmosphere. Aside from Blakeney, all of Pahountis’s new locations are light and airy with modern touches of Greek decor.

Even with the more modern vibe, you walk in any location and you feel like family. That’s a tough thing to scale but Pahountis is managing to do it.

I was personally introduced to Greco Fresh Grille back in 2016, when I was working at Red Ventures. My co-workers suggested it for lunch one day and I’ve been hooked ever since.

In my opinion, Greco Fresh Grille’s fries are the best fries in Charlotte. The GOAT.

Spicy seasoned hand-cut fries ($3.95)

And they have 4 different kinds  – lemon oregano, cumin & garlic, spicy and regular salted. Pahountis says the lemon oregano fries are the crowd favorite.

As for me, I love the spicy fries.

Even though I now work in Uptown and live in South End, I still make the drive for those fries and their Greek salad pita. I think about them more than anyone should think about fries and a pita.

I did venture away from my beloved Greek salad pita during my last visit to try the salmon pita, which came highly recommended by Pahountis. It *might* be my new favorite.

And don’t even try to leave without trying a piece of their homemade baklava. My god.

Homemade Baklava ($3.95)

I selfishly had to ask, why don’t we have a Greco Fresh Grille closer to Uptown yet?

He responded, “I want to get up there. I love South End. I see the growth there and I think that could be next.”

I’ll be on the look out for available leasing space. But until then, the drive is still worth it.


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