Yiayia’s Eatery claims to feature “home cooking” and they are not kidding. We met Yiayia (Grandmother in Greek), the head cook, shared a table with her and enjoyed her food.
This seven-month old caf/ is located in an active industrial section of College Point near the multiplex theater and the DMV. Run by owners Jacqueline and Tina Koutlakis, the eatery is named after their mother who is matriarch of the Greek family. The menu, however, is eclectic with Greek specialties.
When you are seated in this minimalist but comfortable eatery, you will find two menus - one a complete listing of what is always available and the other listing the specials.
Breakfast specials are available from 6 to 11 a.m. while the non-breakfast foods - paninis, wraps, sandwiches, soups, salads, pizzas and burgers - are always available, usually cooked to order.
The separate specials menu is also varied and may include soups, pasta, sandwiches and Greek specialties as well as Yiayia’s inspirations.
After consulting with our hostess, we started with the Italian Wedding Soup from the special menu - chicken broth with orzo and tiny meat balls ($2.50). Delicious!
We enjoyed a Greek Salad built around romaine lettuce and including tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives, grape leaf wrapped rice and veggies (anchovies optional). There was more than enough for two.
Next we had warm pita bread and hummus along with Greek style string beans, lemon flavored roasted potatoes, a traditional spinach pie (Spanakopita at $3.95) and a hand-rolled, feta-filled spiral bun made from flaky dough; light and delicious.
Bottled drinks from companies dating from the 1890’s went well with this food sampling. From the display card on the table, we ordered a seltzer-like cream soda sweetened with sugar cane (by Boylan) and Manhattan Special’s root beer. Both brands also offer diet drinks.
My partner, being a feta freak, ordered the Beefteki, beef patties stuffed with feta, which normally comes with either a Greek salad or rice ($5.95). Since we already had a Greek salad, the dish was served with sliced tomatoes. Some we enjoyed while talking to Yiayia and the rest we took home (a practice encouraged at this eatery, which also does off-site catering).
While we are especially partial to Greek dinner cuisine, breakfast platters and three-egg omelets on the menu caught our attention. Platters are served with tea or coffee, toast, home fries and a small fruit juice. The cheese, Spanish and western omelets are each $3.95.
Lunch specials include Paninis featuring chicken, turkey, ham and cheeses with various dressings ($5.95 – $6.45). Wraps hot off the grill range from sliced sirloin ($6.45) to the salsa wrap with turkey in a spinach wrap ($5.95). Special sandwiches served with french fries, pickle and coleslaw range in price from $5.95 (“Philly Cheese Steak,” “Buffalo Bill Hero,” etc.) to $6.45 (“The Godfather” with Salisbury steak and “The Vito Hero” with mortadella, ham and salami).
Owners Jackie and Tina, the agreeable hosts at this eatery, are most eager to please you and make sure you have enough to eat. As we were preparing to leave, we were presented with a dish of just-made pasta (macaroni) with fresh tomato sauce with garlic and basil all packaged and ready to go. No one should leave without something to take home!
We enjoyed our visit with the Koutlakis family and are looking forward to returning soon
30-50 Whitestone Expressway
College Point, NY 11356
Cuisine: American with Greek specialties.
Hours: Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Parking: Limited reserved spots in front plus dozens of spots in a rear lot.
Handicap Access: Ramp at front entrance. Stairs to toilets and from rear parking lot entrance.
Catering and Take Out: Yes for office lunch and all occasions.
Credit Cards: All major cards accepted.