After three decades of being one of Norman’s most popular near-campus restaurants, the “Greek House” is now operated by a new family.
Angelo Dimas, the founder of Greek House, came to America in the 1970’s to improve life for his family and eventually opened a Greek food restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma.
At first, the restaurant served both shish kabob and gyros but over time, gyros proved to be the more popular choice amongst the people of Norman, especially the ever-changing students of the University of Oklahoma. Gyros, which is a special blend of beef and lamb roasted on an auto-doner, is served with tzatziki sauce, a yougurt based dip mixed with fresh cucumbers. With the popularity of gyros growing in Norman, Dimas decided to make gyros the main dish.
Customers have told the new owners what made the Greek House popular beyond the high quality gyros meat was they were treated to a trip to Greece as they watched the food being prepared as the staff sliced the meat on a vertical spit (autodoner) right in front of them. For this reason, the new owner decided not to change the restaurant layout so that the restaurant will keep its authenticity.
Ultimately, what people really appreciated about the Greek House was watching Dimas and staff cut the gyro meat off the auto-doner, which is an art in itself. As the restaurant gained popularity, Dimas added broilers to meet the surge in customers’ demand as the simple bill-of-fare kept the place packed.
The additional heat created by being busy enough to require all the broilers going at once creates a difficult challenge but the new staff does their best to cut the meat as skillfully as Dimas did despite the extreme temperature.
“It’s not easy,” says Farshad Tajbakhsh, the new owner of Greek House. “We’re doing our best to keep up but Angelo was truly a man of steel.”
While some people were eager to know what would happen to Greek House when the Dimas family finally decided to sell and go back to Greece, Tajbakhsh assures that everything is “still the same.” In fact, many things have been improved. For instance, an ATM has been added for the people who don’t carry cash since the restaurant is cash and carry. As far Dimas and his wife Helen, they moved back to Greece to retire after expressing their pride in leaving behind a legacy known as the “Greek House”.