Gus Stavrides, proprietor of Kostas Grill, moved from Greece to the United States in 1981. He started out in New York City in the construction business and later opened a store front with custom furniture. In 1988 he moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where he continued to make custom furniture for 26 years. He enjoyed the opportunity to create furniture for his customers and now delicious Greek food.
Gus’ wife Roni has been visiting the shore town of Tuckerton, since 1967. Many memorable summers were spent enjoying the sun and surf. Over the years their shore house had become the meeting point between the New York and Baltimore families; summers and some holidays were celebrated there.
Gus and Roni recently relocated and started their new chapter in Tuckerton and wanted to offer the community something new. On February 2, 2016 they opened Kostas Grill for lunch and after 3 weeks they extended it to lunch and dinner.
Maria, daughter of Gus and Roni, who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and information systems has joined the team to assist her parents with their new endeavor. Their son, Gerry, is a sous chef in Baltimore, Maryland. His wife, Rianna, a head chef, is expecting their first baby, a boy; also the first grandchild.
“What would you recommend if someone never had Greek food before?”
Gus replied, “Avgolemono Chicken Soup (traditional egg and lemon broth, chicken and orzo); any of the salads; Lamb Shanks (lamb shank, orzo, light tomato sauce); Rack of Lamb (grilled New Zealand lamb, and giant beans); Moussaka (layers of potato, eggplant, seasoned ground beef and béchamel); Spanakopita (spinach, feta cheese and phyllo).
“What are some of the top menu items that customers are coming back for again and again?”
Gus answered, “Gyro, Souvlaki, Burgers, and salads.”
The Gyro is probably the one menu item most have heard of or have tried. It is a combination of lamb and beef with Greek spices cooked on a vertical rotisserie. It is cut to order and placed in a pita with tomatoes, onions, feta, and tzatziki sauce (cucumber, fresh dill, garlic, and Greek yogurt).
Souvlaki, chicken or pork, is marinated and grilled with special spices.
Let me tell you a little about the burgers. They offer three different kinds: Greek American Burger is an 8 oz. short rib and chuck blend on a brioche bun, stacked with gyro, fries and feta cheese with all the fixings; Kostas Lamb Burger is a freshly ground (every morning) with Greek spices and spicy feta spread on a Brioche Bun; and the Saganaki Burger is a short rib and chuck blend with grilled eggplant and Kefalograviera (a sharp provolone-like cheese) served on a Brioche Bun. Okay my mouth is watering….which one sounds delicious to you? I will try the Greek American!
Kostas Grill offers 5 different salads: Greek is a chopped iceberg, tomato, cucumber, peppers, red onion, pepperoni, kalamata olive, and feta with a house vinaigrette; Athens is a baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, chick peas, and feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon; Kostas is a shredded romaine, scallion, kalamata olive, feta cheese, lemon-dill dressing; Super Greek is kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, radicchio, Napa cabbage, golden raisins, kalamata olives, feta cheese and house vinaigrette; and Beet Salad is honey roasted beets, baby kale, manouri cheese, balsamic vinegar.
Gus uses only the best ingredients: The extra virgin olive oil is rated #4 in the world, Iliada. The oregano is from Greece, as well as the kalamata olives as well as all the cheeses. He can’t wait for the Jersey tomatoes. They will be delicious in the Athenian Shrimp dish (sautéed shrimp with garlic, onions, parsley, tomato and feta served over orzo).
He wants his customers to experience Greek food as he did as a child. “Local, fresh and seasonal,” Gus shared.
What item surprised you that customers ordered that you thought they wouldn’t?
“My wife was hesitant to put the octopus on the menu however it is sold out every day. As a matter of fact, a gentleman came in and ordered it and returned with his wife to have her try it. Our customers mention how perfectly cooked it is and how much they enjoyed it as they leave the restaurant. Many customers also say “We’ll be back!”
“Do you offer items for vegetarians?”
“Yes, absolutely. Any of the salads are vegetarian. “Also, our fresh spinach mac ‘n’ cheese, the veggie pita, tzatziki, spanakopita and the saganaki (flaming cheese with pita) are great vegetarian choices.”
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! The Baklava is divine! You can have it plain, in a sundae or with olive oil and sea salt ice cream. Ask for the Greek coffee it is so good.
I had a very nice time sitting down with Gus discussing how he got to this point and his goals for the restaurant. He is a genuine gentleman. He truly wants the customer to enjoy their experience at the restaurant.
So, if you don’t know what’s for dinner…then the answer is Kostas Grill in Tuckerton.
They will offer catering soon. Watch for details on their website.
Kostas Grill is open Tuesday thru Saturday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 7:00pm; closed Monday. They are located at 161 E. Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ 08087. www.kostasgrill.com