Tzatziki Greek Grill at 62 Main Street is named for the creamy yogurt sauce used on so many Greek dishes. “You could say that tzatziki is to Greeks what ketchup is to Americans,” says Fay Nanakos with a friendly smile. She is co-owner of the new restaurant in the village along with husband George and business partner Dimitri Toumaras. “But I have to give credit for thinking of the name to my son,” she adds. “It was his idea.”
Her two college-student sons (along with her recently graduated daughter) give her a lot of ideas about what they and their friends are looking for in a place to eat, she says. “And I’ll listen to feedback. Coming out of the gate, a lot of the menu was geared to college kids. But we want to cater to both; make it interesting for the kids but make it interesting for the adults, too.”
And it’s not like it’s their first rodeo; Fay and George Nanakos are longtime restaurateurs. The couple that met in high school in Bayside, Queens, have owned and operated restaurants in the region for years, most recently The Greek Café in Middletown. “We’re very much a restaurant family,” she says. “My brothers own the Goshen Plaza Diner in Goshen and my father has always been in the business. He taught us the old-fashioned way where we needed to know everything; how to cook, how to bake, how to manage… the whole nine yards.”
The two decided to switch gears from Middletown and open a place in New Paltz after having lunch here last year. “I just fell in love with the entire vibe of the place,” Fay says. “Then I got that look in my eye that my husband usually dreads, because he knows it means I’m planning and I’m scheming…” She laughs. “And we started to look for a location. There were very few available, and then I went on Craigslist one night and found out Rock Da Pasta was for sale. We went to look at it, and it was small, and the space is challenged for storage and for the kitchen, but I could picture it just like this,” she says, gesturing around the sunlit 30-seat dining room. “I said, ‘All right, this is it, let’s go; we can do it. And I’m glad that we took the chance, because so far everyone has been amazing. The people who come in, the other business owners… they’ve been so receptive and so nice. Everyone is just really easy-going here.”
A lot of their already-regular customers tell her that they’re sampling their way through the menu, Fay says, and one can see why; it has a lot of options. Meats are grilled and everything is made on the premises with fresh ingredients. “We bake our own spanakopita and mousaka, and our desserts are really hearty. We have a few that aren’t even on the menu.” The falafel is their most popular item right now, she adds, and the college kids like the Hawk fries: hand-cut French fries seasoned with oregano and topped with feta and mozzarella cheese, gyro meat and ranch dressing ($7).
Sandwiches are in the $7-$9 range, platters of grilled salmon, lamb kebab or chicken or pork gyro are priced from $13-$15 and baked dishes like pastichio and Greek mac-and-cheese cost $10-$14. Burgers start at $5. A few signature varieties have a twist: the Santorini is topped with feta cheese and garlic, sautéed tomatoes and onions and the Athenian is topped with feta, onions and figs (both $7).
A wine and beer license is pending.
Tzatziki Greek Grill is open at 62 Main Street Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to either 10 p.m. “or late nights, whenever the kids stop coming in,” says Fay, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Take-out is available. More information is at (845) 255-1144. Delivery is available through Carry Out Kings; order through link on website at www.tzatzikigreekgrill.com.