Alex’s Greek Café and Taziki’s are both new. They’re seven miles apart by car, and continents away in spirit.
Alex’s is a tiny, immigrant-owned Greek cafe, serving gyros, falafel, dolmas and salads to downtown Grapevine; Taziki’s is an Alabama-based Mediterranean chain on East Southlake Boulevard.
That’s right. It’s an Ala-Med cafe.
Alex’s dishes are simple, handmade and as basic as a Greek salad. Taziki’s is more like a chain burrito or sandwich shop.
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For example, Taziki’s not only serves gyros, but also tacos and roll-ups.
“I went over to Taziki’s to see what that place was all about,” said Alex Sula, Alex’s Albanian-born owner, with just a hint of a chuckle.
“It didn’t look very familiar. They have gyros but I didn’t see them sliced. They don’t do nothing like I do.”
Alex’s is the most basic of local Greek cafes, run by a family that used have pizza-and-pasta restaurants.
“Joe” Nikshiqi, Sula’s co-owner and uncle, also has Greek Café on Heritage Trace Parkway in north Fort Worth, which has a similar menu and dishes.
“I had pizza-and-pasta restaurants, but I didn’t want to compete with the other Albanian pizza restaurants around Grapevine,” Sula said.
“We do a lot of Greek dishes plus Mediterranean salmon and some fettuccine and ravioli dishes. People come in and have a quick lunch, or bring wine at dinner.”
Alex’s is open daily for lunch and dinner; 437 E. Northwest Highway (near Bartley’s BBQ), 817-251-4747, alexsgreekcafe.com.
Slicker in Southlake
Taziki’s has a much larger menu with grilled chicken, beef and tilapia platters, soups. salads and daily specials such as roast pork loin or “spanakopita roll-ups.”
It’s more slick and ambitious than Alex’s. The menu is obviously designed for college students and young diners. Even the website claims no Greek heritage, only that “originality” is the theme and “Inspiration can come from anywhere: Greek islands, Mediterranean markets. Mom’s kitchen”
Thursday is fish taco day. (Don’t expect another Fuzzy’s.)
It’s open daily for lunch and dinner at 2750 E. Southlake Blvd., tazikiscafe.com.
Close to home
The Go Texan Restaurant Round-Up continues through Sunday, with restaurants all over the state featuring Texas-grown specials.
Cousin’s Bar-B-Q features Texas pork ribs, and Grace in downtown Fort Worth has an elegant $49 dinner featuring a choice of a squash-blossom risotto or a 44 Farms flank steak with a Texas blueberry panna cotta.
Cast Iron at the Omni features Texas wines, and the Pappas restaurants are showcasing Texas beers.
Near Glen Rose, Rough Creek Lodge has a special Texas pork sampler with a grilled pork chop, a seared loin and a smoked shoulder.
The list of Go Texan menus and prizes is at gotexanrestaurantroundup.com.