Lampros Kakitsis loves the food he's cooking at his new Shadyside eatery, The Greek Kitchen, near the corner of Negley and Centre avenues.
He's been in the restaurant and food-service industry for about 40 years. He's owned restaurants, and his Greek rice pudding — which bears his first name — can be found in grocery stores across the region. But the place he opened two months ago is very special to him.
"These are family recipes taught to me by my mama and grandmama," Kakitsis says. "My family was in the restaurant business for years in Greece. It makes sense to do this with our food."
The small shop, open Monday through Friday, offers dine-in and take-out options for the traditional, made-from-scratch food. Gyros, spanakopita, grape leaves and the noodle casserole pastitsio are all made daily using fresh, local ingredients. Every morning, the Kitchen also makes Greek staples like tabouli and hummus, as well as its sauces, such as the creamy, yogurt-based tzatziki. For dessert, there's sweet, flaky baklava.
Kakitsis is proud of his "jumbo gyro," a grilled pita stuffed with meat and veggies and topped with tzatziki. "Some places, they give you four or five ounces of meat," explains Kakitsis. "But not here. Here, you get eight, nine ounces of meat."
He adds: "That's why when people hear the name Lampros they know they are going to get fresh food and lots of it!"