Greek rice bowls. Pita pannini flatbreads. Gyro pizza.
They're all items on Greek City Cafe's menu and what owner Nicholas Pappas calls a "modern take on Greek."
The idea is to mix traditional Greek elements with familiar menu staples.
"We take a mainstream item and put a Greek twist to it," said Pappas, 31. "I make them feel comfortable, but when they taste it they realize they've never experienced that flavor."
Greek City, 9648 W. Linebaugh Ave. in the Westchase Town Center, officially opens for business today, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m.
Inside Greek City, dark floors, wood panel accents and cool blues and greens give the restaurant a spacious modern touch. The menu is filled with casual dining options including salads, wraps, pitas and soups. Desserts are also a big draw at Greek City Cafe. The restaurant makes its own baklava and features a special baklava cheesecake.
Diners can also opt for a Pick 2 where you get a soup and salad together, or pair it with a pita, panini or spanikopita.
It's all an attempt at adding a new flair to Greek cuisine and it's how Pappas hopes to separate himself from the other Greek dining options already in the neighborhood.
Fresh ingredients are used and prepped daily, Pappas said.
"I feel like this community appreciates good quality food and that raises the bar," he said.
Westchase's Greek City is the third location for Pappas, who has restaurants in Clearwater and Spring Hill.
"I love the energy of Westchase," Pappas said. "It's a lot of young families."
He launched his restaurant company in 2006 after noticing a void in the fast casual dining scene.
"At that time there weren't a lot of options," he said.
Among his signature menu items is the "Pizza Nicco," a soft pita shell drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with marinated chicken, diced tomatoes and covered in pesto basil and mixed cheese.
While much of what Greek City does appeals to a large audience, Pappas, a first generation Greek American, is sure to pay homage to his family's heritage.
An olive tree from Greece is planted in the middle of the restaurant.
Greek City Cafe is opened Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and is located at 9648 W. Linebaugh Ave.