Tag Archives: Greek Food

A Visit to “Greek Town” in Historic Tarpon Springs, FL

1 Jun

Lively gossip outside the Halki Greek Market along Athens Street.

These bright purple eggplant were eye-poppingly beautiful.

Sea salt imported from the motherland of Greece.

This meat and cheese counter gave me flashbacks to my grandparents’ small town grocery store (Justice Grocery) in Hopewell, VA.

The world famous spongedocks at Tarpon Springs, FL.

Locally harvested sponges of all shapes and sizes are sold on the sidewalks.

A statue dedicated to the brave FL sponge divers from days gone by.

We brunched at Costas Greek Restaurant in Tarpon Springs.

The bread is baked fresh daily by a little Greek bakery just down the street.

This “gi-normous” sesame seeded loaf (just $2) came home with us.

Stuffed grape leaves topped with a tart lemon butter sauce.

The tangy grape leaves were packed with rice and spicy meat inside.

We also dug into a massive wedge of flaky spanikopita (spinich pie).

We were totally stunned at the portion size of these pan-fried smelts — massive! Squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle a little sea salt on top. Then devour the whole fish (bones, tail … everything!). We found that dragging the smelts thru a little extra virgin olive oil was also pretty darn tasty. No rules, people — just enjoy. “OPA!!!”

Our two boys loved dipping this crispy calamari into the bowl of cinnamon-scented, red marinara sauce provided by the fine folks at Costas. Nice touch!

This decadent, honey-drenched dessert treat (“Kataifi”) put an exclamation point on our late morning feast. We plan on returning soon to sample some flaming cheese and chargrilled octopus tentacles (they look simply delicious!).

To learn more about the Historic Tarpon Spring Spongedocks, please take time to peruse their community website …

www.spongedocks.net

Roussos is Closing — BUMMER!

21 Aug

Roussos

This is sad news, folks. Good eats — and even better people!

Fifty-five years after it served its first shrimp on the Causeway, Roussos, now located just south of Interstate 10 in Daphne, will serve its last dishes this weekend.

The family restaurant, which has survived destructive storms and three moves, hasn’t been able to weather a shriveled economy and will close it’s doors for good at 3 p.m. Sunday after one final lunch service.

 

“We just made this decision this week,” Georgia Roussos, who runs the business her parents founded with brothers Jimmy and John, said Friday. “It’s been a difficult decision to make.”

George and Zenia Roussos opened the restaurant, a seafood place with a Greek bent, on the Causeway in 1954.

When Hurricane Frederic destroyed the eatery in 1979, the business relocated to Mobile’s Fort Conde area. In 2004, four years after George died, his children moved Roussos to the Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort. Four years after that, they moved it to its present location in Daphne on U.S. 98 near the entrance to the Lake Forest Yacht Club.

“Our business here in Daphne was very strong until last fall,” Jimmy Roussos said in a news release. “It is a good location and the area was very supportive. Then the economic downturn really hit us hard, like it has a lot of restaurants.”

Around October the restaurant began seeing changes in their customers, Georgia Roussos said. They came less frequently, $10 lunch tabs became $7, diners began cutting out extras like wine and desert.

The family hopes to continue operating its catering business after the restaurant closes, but they’ve yet to find a location to work from, said Georgia Roussos, who began cashiering at the restaurant as a teen in the 1970s and whose own children had there first jobs in the kitchen. Someday, she said, the restaurant might even be able to reopen.

“This is without a doubt the toughest decision our family has ever made,” John Roussos said in the release. “The restaurant isn’t a just job to us. It is our way of life.”