The sign may have flipped from It’s Greek to Me to Giorgio’s Greek Cafe last week, but little else has or will change about the downtown Puyallup Greek eatery.
The new owner is Giorgio “George” Dimakis. If that last name sounds familiar, that’s because his father Johnnie has been a longtime partner with Jim Wick in various iterations of It’s Greek To Me, a restaurant that got its start in 1991 in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood.
Over the years, Wick opened – and closed – several It’s Greek To Me restaurants – sometimes with or without Dimakis, who also started his own restaurant called Johnnie’s Greek Cafe in Lakewood.
In every incarnation, the recipes and menus have been consistent – street style and casually presented Greek cuisine with a straightforward menu of gyros, souvlaki, pizza and pasta.
Wick and Dimakis opened the downtown Puyallup It’s Greek To Me in 2010, taking over the location that housed a short-lived version of the Cajun restaurant From the Bayou, then DeCaterina’s Market Grill.
The restaurant is positioned in a stretch of downtown Puyallup that is turning into a bonafide entertainment district. Across the street, Bourbon Street Bar and Grill opened Dec. 16. Within a few blocks, diners will find Crockett’s Public House and Puyallup River Alehouse, a taproom that has become a Puyallup destination for craft beer.
I asked Dimakis what would change at Giorgio’s and he said nothing changes, short of the sign and menu logo. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said Dimakis, who has worked with his father since he was a child. He’s worked every position in the business – progressing from washing dishes and clearing tables to his current role as chef. He’s going to keep his current position in the kitchen at Giorgio’s, but said he’ll have more time to spend with customers. As for his father, he said he’ll still act as mentor and will be involved in cooking, but he said his father is ready to take a break from the daily grind. Wick said via email he’s looking forward to simplifying and having more time to spend with his newborn.
Later this year, Dimakis plans to start serving something missing from the local coffee scene – Greek coffee service.
Other Puyallup happenings
Bourbon Street Bar and Grill opened Dec. 16. Read my first-bite report from Dec. 26 here. The downtown eatery is geared toward grownups in search of Cajun eats and drinks. I loved the shrimp po’ boy sandwich. Check it out.
Salsa 7 – the modern Mexican restaurant slated for downtown Puyallup in the old Sam’s Taqueria location still appears to be in progress.
Pizzahood – This new mobile food truck – with a wood-fired pizza oven – is a must-visit on East Main. Al fresco pizza in January? You bet. Get yourself there, stat. Read a review here.
Cattin’s – have you stopped in at this old-time diner lately? I recently had a terrific slice of apple pie there. Check it out. It’s one of few restaurants open 24 hours.
South Hill happenings
Heading up the hill, there’s plenty of restaurant news:
Bob’s Burgers and Brews – the South Hill burger restaurant might be opening as early as next week on South Hill, across from Sunrise Village. Read more about the Washington-based chain of burger restaurants here. Find Facebook updates here.
Sub Zero Ice Cream – a franchise location of the national ice cream chain will open next door to Ayothaya Thai Restaurant. Sub Zero is a fun destination for kids (there’s one in Federal Way). The ice cream shop is part ice cream parlor, part science lab. Liquid ice cream base is frozen – to order – using liquid nitrogen. Find updates on the shop’s Facebook page.
Ayothaya - If you didn’t read my story from December, the popular South Hill Thai restaurant Ayothaya is expanding to a second location in the Canyon Crossing shopping center in the Frederickson area. The opening is several months away.
Sushi: Sushi Oyama recently applied for a liquor permit at 10312 120th St. E.