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click to enlarge bartlettimage_greek_to_go-2.jpg

Photo by Rob Bartlett

From gyros to hand pies, kebabs to kourabiedes, Maitland's Greek to Go is good to go 

Here's a restaurant with a name for the times: Greek to Go (emphasis on the "to go"). It's one of three Greek joints in Maitland – Athena Roasted Chicken and Olea Mediterranean Grill being the others – all within a mile of each other, in what has to be the greatest concentration of Hellenic eateries this side of Tarpon Springs.

That last line may not be true, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Maitland is a hub for Grecian fare – even the annual Greek Fest at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church takes place in Maitland. Greek Fest also happened to be the last time I enjoyed a proper tiropita, the crackly filo dough pie stuffed with a mix of feta and egg. When I saw owner Albert Bua bring some of these freshly baked beauties out of GTG's oven, it made my lunchtime decision pretty easy. For $7.99, I got two triangular pies served over a Greek salad with a side of a wonderfully light and creamy tzatziki. The pie and an order of dolmades ($4.50) – their herbaceous and lemony rice filling dense, and not mealy in the least – made for a superb noontime repast. Those dolmades, by the way, aren't made in house. Neither is the gyro ($6.99), but Bua procures a quality beef/lamb product and stuffs it into pita from the Kontos bakery in New Jersey. It, too, made for a fine lunch.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

On dinnertime visits, my eyes were focused on GTG's kebabs. The meats aren't skewered like they are in traditional souvlaki, but that didn't make them any less gratifying. Bua uses tenderloins for his lemony chicken kebabs ($9.45), again served over Greek salad with pita and tzatziki, and that salad is no mere afterthought – ingredients are fresh as can be and there's no skimping on the sizable block of feta. The beef kebab ($10.99) is a ground, flattened version more akin to chapli and kofta than shish. Oh, and rice or roasted Greek potatoes aren't offered here. Not sure as to the rationale behind the lack of cooked starches on the menu – the fact GTG is a modest outfit may have something to do with it – though I will say the chickpea salad ($3.99) makes a very worthy substitute.

While this may be a small operation, Bua's no novice. He's had restaurants in Athens as well as the beach town of Himara, on the Albanian Riviera. He's also acutely aware of good customer service, chatting and joking away with patrons and employees alike, but doing so with a mask and gloves on. Being sensitive to the times and offering a semblance of reassurance to guests is a trait seemingly lost on other fast casual joints, but not here.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

What keeps me coming back, however, and I'm ashamed to say this, are the sweets. Bua offers baklava ($3.50) and butter-almond cookies ($3.50) called kourabiedes, both procured from Hellas Restaurant & Bakery in Tarpon Springs. The baklava is baklava, but sweet mother of Homer, those cookies! I'm absolutely hooked. I'd gladly make the odyssey here just to sink my pearlies into these buttery rounds coated in an ungodly amount of powdered sugar. In a word, they're epic.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

This story appears in the June 10, 2020, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters.

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