A semester later than anticipated, George’s Greek Cafe has opened at California State University, Long Beach’s University Dining Plaza.
The restaurant was originally promised to open in the first month of the Fall 2014 semester, but never unlocked its registers.
“During the rush it gets really hectic,” Marcos Muro, the restaurant’s supervisor and junior French major at CSULB, said. “Especially during the first week because everybody was waiting all semester for us to open.”
George’s Greek Cafe is unique compared to other choices on campus because it is not a large chain restaurant, but a smaller local establishment. There are four locations outside of CSULB including those in Downtown Long Beach, Belmont Shore, Lakewood and Huntington Beach.
According to its website, George’s Greek Cafe was founded by father and son team George and Demitri Lozides, who aim to bring customers “a little piece of Greece in southern California.”
The on-campus location differs from their four restaurants in that it is not a sit-down, full service establishment. The menu is also significantly less extensive than other locations, although it still offers a wide variety of authentic Greek food.
Some of the items offered include the crispy fried chickpea balls better known as falafel, juicy tender gyro meats, freshly made Greek style pita sandwiches and smooth, creamy dips such as hummus.
“George’s Greek Café came about as we were looking for an exciting new concept to add to the University Dining Plaza,” Kierstin Stickney, the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Forty-Niner Shops, said. “[It] is a well-known and beloved restaurant in our community and we thought the unique and tasty menu items would add a nice variety for our campus.”
However, now that the Cafe has opened its doors, are students satisfied?
“It’s more filling and a break from the usual,” senior human development major at CSULB Ana Hernandez said. She found the departure from the typical pizza and fast food joints on campus satisfying, touting that George’s is “not as common … [I] get sick of the same food over and over.”
Alex Tran, a sixth year communications studies major at CSULB, mirrored Hernandez’s opinion.
“It’s nice to have something different,” Tran said, although he admits that he wouldn’t mind a big chain coming in either.
When scouting for a bite, fashion major Jaymee Jo Meck frequented the Second Street location while she lived in Belmont Shore. She welcomed the new addition to the dining plaza.
“I ate [at George’s Greek Cafe] all of the time,” Meck said. “I’m really happy that there is one on campus now!”
With options like the fresh falafel made daily or the spicy feta, Meck said she appreciates the vegetarian options for her meat-free lifestyle.
“Since opening on Jan.12, it has been a big success,” Stickney said. “We have had a lot of positive feedback from our students.”