If you order a gyro from Meraki Greek Street Food next month and notice house-made fries inside the pita, don’t think for one second that the restaurant is pandering to the potato state.
The fast-casual eatery — slated to debut in late September in the former Proto’s Pizza spot at 345 S. 8th St. — is striving for authenticity. Along with marinated meat, tomato, onion and tzatzki sauce, fries are part of the traditional Greek street-food way, co-owner Aki Kalatzakis explains.
“Sunflower oil and potatoes,” Kalatzakis says. “It really just brings that different dimension, too. Along with the freshness, you get that different texture.”
Kalatzakis, 39, a first-generation Greek-American, should know. His dad, Taki, was an executive chef for decades specializing in Mediterranean food who didn’t move to the United States until he was 35. In June, Taki and Aki Kalatzakis relocated to Boise from the Bay Area to open Meraki.
Now retired and a co-owner of Meraki, Taki will transition cooking duties to his son while teaching him family recipes. “His tzatzki sauce is second to none,” Aki says.
The men believe there’s a niche here for their restaurant because of a growing demand for ethnic food and different tastes, but also because of Boise’s hunger for fresh, locally produced ingredients.
“There’s only so many burger and pizza places that can open up,” Aki Kalatzakis says.
“Our guests deserve to have pita bread baked fresh daily, sauces made from scratch, and fresh produce,” Kalatzakis says, “so that they can really get that authentic Greek experience.”
Other key ingredients — olives and olive oil, feta cheese — will be imported from Greece.
“That creates some nostalgia for my dad and I,” Kalatzakis says, “but I think it also makes our menu more unique.”
Mouth-watering gyros will be the star of the show. Moist, hand-stacked pork, chicken and beef-lamb combos will beckon from vertical, spinning spits. Gyros will be available in four ways — in a pita, on a salad, in a rice bowl, or on top of fries.
There will be customizable topping choices, plus additional menu items such as seasonal salads, side dishes such as spanikopita spinach pie, and desserts ranging from baklava to loukoumades, warm doughnut balls bathed in honey, cinnamon and ground walnuts. Rotating seasonal specials will include moussaka, lamb shank, souvlaki and roasted lamb tacos.
Local breweries will be represented on tap, but you’ll also be able to wrap your hand around a cold bottle of Greek beer.
“Have exactly what you would have in Greece,” Kalatzakis says. “A gyro with a Mythos beer.”
Restaurant hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
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