Greek food was not on the list Sandra and I took the funmobile off to Sarasota. We actually were in search of some bargains and fresh produce (more on that later). We had just arrived at Bradenton. So, we decided to get off at the University Town Center to see what we could find. At the end of Cooper Creek Blvd. we spotted a big beige building. On the side was a large sign announcing Louis Pappas – Fresh Greek.
   Well, we were hungry and we like Greek cuisine, so it wasn’t a tough decision.
A Lot of Selections
   The tough decisions came later, once we got a look at the menu. There were so many options ranging from salads, flatbreads, pitas and sandwiches to a wide array of appetizers, Mediterranean Spreads and cafe entrees.
    After perusing the menu, (and looking around the dining area to see what others were having), I opted for the Pappas Traditional Salad. After all, how can you go to a new place and not try their signature dish.
   I ordered the regular portion and not the large, figuring I could always go back and get more. But the regular size was more than enough. It was a bowl stacked with lettuce and ringed with large wedges of cucumber, tomato and pepperoncini. There was a giant scallion in the center, anchored in a large dollop of potato salad underneath.
   My lovely wife opted for the “Pick 2” where she had a cafe salad with a chicken slouvlaki on the side.
Fresh and Delicious
   Wow,  there certainly was a lot and the dining room was quiet. It was a very pleasant place to sit down for a meal. Moreover, the hostess came by several times after learning it was our first visit.
  For both of us, the salads were fresh, and the pita bread was warm and fluffy.
  Sandra wanted a bit of a dessert, so we grabbed an order of “Greek Fries.” These really are homemade potato chips with a large garnish of tzatziki sauce. Now, we have had some great homemade chips in the past, most notably at the Wild Turkey Tavern in Avon Park. But hands down, these were absolutely the best.
A Lot More to Try
   After our meal, we sat around and looked at their takeout menu. We agreed that there are lots of reasons to return. For instance, I did not try the spanakopita. But there are so many more things to sample.
  I’d like to try the chopped version of the Pappas salad, there’s a spinach & pita flatbread that looks pretty good, not to mention their Traditional Mousaka, their Greek-A-Dillas or some of their many soups.
   The good news is, the Bradenton location is just one of a half dozen locations scattered throughout central Florida. There are Louis Pappas restaurants in Tampa, Clearwater, Lakeland and New Port Richey as well.
A Brief History
   Ironically, there’s not one in Tarpon Springs – where Louis M. Pappamichalopoulos got his start. The Greek native established the Louis Pappas “Riverside Cafe” there in 1925.
   He reportedly began the tradition of putting a scoop of potato salad at the bottom of his Greek salads during World War I, while serving in France as an Army Chef in General John J. Pershing’s “Wildcat Division.”
   The business is now into its fourth generation, continuing the family tradition of simply prepared foods using high quality and locally-sourced products.
   In addition to their dine in restaurants, the Louis Pappas Fresh Greek chain also offers catering services. In addition to complete entrees, patrons can order Fresh Greek in a Box, Greek Spreads and Appetizers, Seasonal Fruit, Fresh Salads, and of course, the Louis Pappas Famous Greek Salad.
   For those needing more information anytime of the day or night, there’s  plus social media locations on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter.)
    We know that we’ll be back, and we’ll try and be hungrier. LOL