Monday, April 15, 2013

A Search for Greek Food in East Tennessee…

Laurie and I do miss the ethnic restaurants that we enjoyed during our 27 years in the Chicago area. (Please understand that we don’t miss Chicago’s traffic, the scenery, the millions of people or the weather!)

In downtown Chicago’s ‘Greek Town’, there is a very nice restaurant named Santorini. We had a corner Greek restaurant called Rose Garden in Elk Grove Illinois where we went for heaping platters of gyros and pita with tzatziki sauce.  There was enough garlic in this dish that we both had to order gyros to be able to stand each other.  We also didn’t order gyros if we had any appointments or social engagements within the next 24 hours!
We just never got around to trying Ali Baba’s in Knoxville before they decided to retire and we discovered that our ‘dining out card’ for Athena was useless because that restaurant was closed… Was there no hope?!

When Dawn Marie’s last visit drew to a close, she flew back to Miami via Chattanooga’s airport…so that gave us a chance to check out any Greek restaurants in the southeast corner of Tennessee.  This is The Acropolis, just off of I-75, north of Chattanooga.  It has been in business for many years so we were very hopeful!

Our first visual was promising… Like many Chicago neighborhood Greek owned restaurants, there was a display of desserts by the front door.  The dining room, (above), had a warm feeling…and it felt right as compared to our past experiences.
Teddy Kyriakidis opened his first restaurant in New Jersey back in ca. 1958.  The Acropolis is his second restaurant in the Chattanooga area.  His first place was in business for 13 years and The Acropolis Grill has been open for almost 18 years!

I couldn’t find our appetizer on the Acropolis Grill’s on-line menu.  This was a combination of Greek spreads with pita bread and toast points. ($7.00) This really wasn’t my thing but both Laurie and Dawn Marie thought that it was pretty good.
I had a bowl of the Avgolemono soup with my lunch.  Laurie also had a cup of this soup… Avgolemono or egg-lemon soup is a family of Mediterranean sauces and soups made with egg and lemon juice mixed with broth…  As a soup, it usually starts with chicken broth.  Typically, rice, orzo, pastina, or tapioca is cooked in the broth before the mixture of eggs and lemon is added. 
Unfortunately, this version of Avgolemono soup just didn’t do it for us.  It appeared that a little orzo had been added to the mix but the soup was much thinner…more broth-like…than what we’d become used to in Chicago.  It lacked the substance which I believe usually modifies the lemony taste.

I ordered the Gyros Dinner. ($9.95) It came with the preceding bowl of soup… I’m guessing that this is a luncheon portion as the price listed on-line is $10.95.
What’s with the ‘chunks’ of gyro meat?  We’ve never seen gyros served this way before.  Proper gyros should be sliced in strips from a ‘loaf’ of lamb, or beef and lamb, rotating on a vertical rotisserie spit.  Gyros usually have quite a bit of flavor as well…and this product didn’t ‘pop’ at all.  Spices used to make Gyros usually include salt, sweet paprika, white pepper, black pepper, parsley, garlic powder and dried oregano…and sometimes others!
Our impression was that these were pre-formed strips of gyro meat (or some semblance of gyro meat) that were pan-fried and served.  The only flavor that really came through was because the ‘chunks’ were grilled/fried.  Our gyros at Acropolis Grill were very disappointing.  For anyone interested in learning more about gyros, you can go to

OK…enough about the gyros themselves!  The second key to great gyros is top notch tzatziki sauce.  Tzatziki sauce is to gyros like butter is to bread… Sadly, the tzatziki sauce at Acropolis matched the gyros themselves.  You could taste the yogurt and the cucumbers, but what happened to the usual ingredients…garlic, salt, olive oil and dill?  Can you spell ‘bland’?
In summary…for gyros and tzatziki sauce…you’d be better off ordering yours at the Sweetwater Flea Market in Sweetwater Tennessee.  While the Flea Market version isn’t great, they do have a bit of flavor and no chunks...they were sliced off of a vertical spit!
To be fair, Acropolis Grill has been in business for 18 years so they must be doing something right!  Our sampling of their offerings was very limited indeed.  I checked Trip Advisor and Acropolis Grill had a 70% recommended rating and it was listed as 61st out of 537 area restaurants.  Acropolis Grill is located at 2213 Hamilton Place Road in Chattanooga Tennessee.  Phone: 423-899-5341.  Website:
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. Such a shame - I'd say the second generation now running the place just isn't up to Dad's standards

  2. I am eating dinner at Santorini tomorrow night while I am in Chicago for business!