The Cuisine Scene
Brenda Hill

The Fat Greek
Yucaipa, California

If you’ve driven on Yucaipa Boulevard lately, you may have noticed a new restaurant, The Fat Greek, in the old A&W location west of Oak Glen Road. Their unique sign recently went up and now they’re officially open. I decided to stop in.

Owned by the Houvardas family, sons Nick and Chris, and mom, Nitsa, the restaurant offers something a little different.

(Nitsa, Nick, crew members and Chris)

“Eat Greek and live longer,” Nick says. He likes to follow a version of the Mediterranean diet which includes olive oil, feta cheese, grape leaves, and fresh vegetables.

When I visited, they’d only been open about a week, and already they were busy. In the late afternoon, several families occupied the booths inside, and as it grew later, cars lined up at the drive-thru.

Nick said they’d spent about five months rebuilding the restaurant, installing new fixtures, new flooring, and of course, new appliances, and now they have about eight booths and four tables. Even though the family owns a 7,000 square foot Mexican restaurant, Casanuava, in San Diego, he was very excited about opening in Yucaipa and making it his home.

Inside The Fat Greek, the menu says Greek, American and Mexican food, and the menu above the order counter has variety of dishes. One of Nick’s plans is to offer more Greek cuisine on the weekends. He believes in quality ingredients, using only extra-virgin olive oil and he prepares his food from scratch. 

Since I’m not familiar with the cuisine, he fixed a couple of appetizers for me to try. One was a spinach pie, which were two triangles of phyllo dough filled with spinach and feta cheese. The paper-thin sheets of dough were flaky and delicious, and the other appetizer, dolomades, was sections of young grape leaves filled with rice, tightly rolled and marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Kalamata olives, which tasted so fresh you’d think they’d recently been picked, were included as sides, as well as pepperchino yellow peppers. I’d never tasted anything like dolomades and I loved them. His prices are very reasonable, at just a little less than three dollars each.

I ate all the appetizers so I didn’t have a chance to try his special gyro sandwiches, but Nick said they cook the meat on special machines with vertical broilers. Gyro, pronounced uro, is a way of cooking the meat, whether its beef, lamb or pork, on a vertical cylinder or rotisserie so the juices baste the meat as it drips down the sides. The term gyro comes from the spinning motion of a gyroscope, then the meat is shaved for the sandwiches and served on pita bread. It sounds so good that I’d like to try one as well as his pastrami sandwiches. The pastrami is a smoked meat sandwich for $5.99 and they also offer pastrami burgers.

For the American section, they offer hot dogs, which Nick says they use the larger, better flavored wiener, and they make their own chili for the chili dogs. Also on the menu are corn dogs and several different hamburgers, veggie burgers and a grilled chicken sandwich.

Some of the Mexican choices include taquitos, churros, and several different burritos, including breakfast burritos. They even have a gyro burrito for $3.79.

Salads include a Greek salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and olives.

A dispenser machine with several sodas sits by the counter as well as agourmet coffee selection, 16 oz for $1.99.

To top off the meal, they have vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream and shakes, and a root beer float for $2.85.

They’ll soon be offering party trays and catering, and Nick hopes to have his website up and running in the next couple of weeks.

Open 10am-10pm 7 days per week.

The Fat Greek
33265 Yucaipa Blvd
(909) 797-6018