Let me first of all say that my wife is passionate about Greek food. Because of her love for the Mediterranean flavor, I have fallen head of heels in like with Greek food. Tazaiki, humus, saganaki, spanakotiropita, ke-bobs and, of course, the gastronomic gut-buster staple… gyros.
As my readers may recall, we recently moved from North of 75th Street into South Naperville. As a result, we have been discovering all sorts of new dining options which previously were a bit too far to drive for hunger satisfaction. While I will confess that I generally don’t like strip malls, Naperville is full of surprising culinary gems which have taken advantage of more affordable rent options within the seemingly endless inventory of strip malls.
One terrific example on the Greek side which we not only recently discovered, but has only been open for 11 months in South Naperville, is Kosta’s Mediterranean Cafe. Though Kosta’s is new to Naperville, one look at the wall upon entering the strip mall space near 95th and Rt. 59 will serve as notice that Kosta’s Greek food is a Milwaukee legend dating back a few decades.
The owner, I presume Mr. Kosta, can be found circulating around the restaurant and is certainly a match to the multiple brownish newspaper clipping pictures hanging on the wall documenting the history Kosta’s restaurant.
I’ll have to say my only disappointment is the fact the owner never came over to say hello to me and wife despite the fact we were only one of two tables occupied for the weekday lunch hour last Monday. As I’ve mentioned in the past to restaurant owners around Naperville… this is a big opportunity to secure loyal clientele. Just drop by and say hello, tell us a little about your story and ask what we thought of the experience. It’s so easy and powerful, yet for some reason it seems to most often be overlooked lately (see my reviews on Kiku and Macarena’s).
Nonetheless, Mr. Kosta has rightfully earned his reputation on the quality of his Greek food. I’ve been to far more upscale Greek restaurants where the food was no match for what we received in this understated white table cloth strip mall space. Simply put, the food at Kosta’s is unexpectedly great.
First, the spanakotiropita was rich in flavor and melted in our mouth. The appetizer portion was very generous leaving me wondering whether or not there would be room to appreciate the entree.
Though I typically don’t opt for gyros at a proper sit-down Greek restaurant, for some reason they were calling out to me on this particular day. I’m glad they did as I had the rare opportunity to experience something you can’t get at most of the sinful gyro joints in the Chicagoland area… homemade gyro meat. First, it had a fresh mild flavor and thankfully lacked the sodium packed punch of the industry rods of gyro you find at most fast-food greek/gyro restaurants. Though a milder departure at first, each bite gave me a newfound appreciation for the meat product. The Tzaziki was second to none in freshness and flavor.
My wife went for the Chicken Shish Ke-bobs, which I’ve learned to avoid mainly because I’ve found they often look better than they tase. In the case of Kosta’s, I’m not sure how their kitchen is equipped, but the chicken was richly seasoned and juicy with just the right punch of charbroil flavor. The rice was perfectly seasoned and savory.
If lunch is any indication, I look forward to returning to Kosta’s for dinner to take advantage of the many other dishes which were far too overwhelming for lunch. Service was friendly enough, but again a slow lunch hour is such a great opportunity to win the hearts of new faces which wander into your restaurant. One note I will make, a father and his toddler in a stroller walked in and asked if he might get some water in his son’s sippy cup and Mr. Kosta was more than happy to help out the father and his child despite the fact they had no intention of grabbing a bite to eat.
I hope the Kosta’s tradition remains alive for a long time in Naperville. I also look forward to meeting Mr. Kosta at some point as I’m sure he has some interesting stories to tell. Regardless of which side of Naperville you live on, I encourage everyone to take advantage of this modest taste of the Mediterranean in South Naperville. A footnote, they also sell their gyro meat by the pound. SM
Kosta’s is located at 3124 South Route 59 in Naperville. Their phone number is 630-922-8760.