I hesitated to write this. I wanted to keep it a secret, lest the spot become too popular and overrun by hordes of the hungry. But, as the saying goes, if you truly love something, let it go. So here it is, my treasured discovery revealed.
Just off the corner of North University and South State Street lies an authentic Greek grill. And it is LIT. For those of you over the age of 30, “lit” is a word used by Millennials, usually describing a party or some event/place which is particularly fun or enjoyable. Think “so hot that it is probably on fire” (lit). Mezes Greek Grill is everything you could ever want in a fast-casual restaurant. Let’s break it down:
According to co-owner and Greek immigrant, Stavro Sianos, Mezes receives loads of fresh food every two days from local markets in the area. Not only does this lead to extra-fresh meat and vegetables in your meal, but it also supports the local businesses in the Ann Arbor area.
The chicken kebab featured seasoning balanced by spice and salinity. The dish was accompanied by warm pita, freshly blended hummus, and pleasantly crispy fries. Accommodations for the vegan-loving, the gluten-averse, and the allergy-compromised are offered— all for a reasonable price.
A great area anyone on campus, at the end of North University, you can enjoy some delectable gyros right after you pick up that new Harbaugh T-shirt at the M-Den, in between movies at the Michigan Theater, or immediately following your leisurely stroll through the Diag. There’s limited seating inside, or enjoy the fare at the tables in front of this establishment or on the Diag’s lush grass.
Stavro knows it’s all about his customers’ experience, focusing on hospitality. “I try to make it no different than if you were in my dining room in my house,” he told me. And another important aspect of the culture that Stavro emphasizes is that workers who start at Mezes tend to stay there. A warm, communal atmosphere permeates, as customers recognize faces and build relationships with staff.
There is more to this restaurant than just the sum of its components. Talking with Stavro, it’s clear he genuinely loves food. As he took me through observing customers (to see what morsels are left behind and then inferring how to improve his dishes), I was intrigued by his passion. See, Stavro moved to Ann Arbor from Greece when his wife took a job as a research biologist with the University of Michigan. After talking with a friend, Stathis Govathsos, as well as with Dimitri Roumanis, a recent UM graduate, the three created a distinct Greek-American vibe. For Dimitri, the best part of his job is brushing up on his Greek, making new friends, and seeing all the different types of people that come into his restaurant.
At Mezes, there’s a community to join, an experience to have, and some pretty good Greek food to go along with it. I guess it was only a matter of time before the word got out about this place. My advice, get there before a line out the door becomes the norm. Because, as any college student will tell you – that is customary with things that are indeed “lit.”
Mezes Greek Grill | 715 N. University Ave.
734-369-2204 | mezesgreekgrill.com