Since visiting Greece in 2006, I’ve been infatuated with Greek cuisine. It should come as no surprise then that Greek Fest is my favorite Fort Wayne festival (because of the food, of course).
Typically, Greek cuisine uses olive oil quite liberally, whether it is a vegetable, fish, lamb or poultry dish. Olives, cheese, eggplant, mint, garlic and yogurt are also staples in many Greek dishes. Sadly, Greek Fest comes around only once a year, but thankfully, Friends Too provides me with my fix all year round. Locally owned and operated by Niko and Ana Hatzigeorgiou, the restaurant on West Jefferson is the second location for the pair; the original, Friends, is located on Dupont Road.
In addition to traditional Greek cuisine, Friends Too has a robust menu typical of Greek diners in larger cities. I am a big fan of their breakfast options, especially the Spartan Omelette ($8.29), which is made with gyro meat, spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese.
The American Favorites section of the menu features a BBQ Rib Dinner ($17.99 for a full slab, $11.99 for half), Fried Fish ($6.99), Rotisserie Chicken ($11.99 for a whole, $7.99 for half), Pork Chops ($9.99), and Beef Manhattan ($8.99), to name a few of the selections.
Here are my favorite Greek dishes on the menu:
Marianthi’s Greek Vegetarian Plate, $9.99 – Three spanakopita, three tiropitakia, six dolmadakia and tzatziki sauce. This is the perfect dish to order if you are not sure you like Greek food. It offers an assortment of some staples and is more than enough to share. Spanakopita is spinach and feta wrapped with phyllo dough. Similarly, tiropitakia is a feta and egg mixture wrapped in layers of buttered phyllo dough. Dolmadkia are grape leaves stuffed with rice and dill and seasoned with lemon. Tzatziki sauce is to Greek food as ketchup is to American food. It consists of strained yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and dill and is a great complement to these vegetarian options.
Dolmades, $9.99 – grape leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice, topped with an egg-lemon sauce. These tangy Greek staples are similar to dolmadkia but are loaded with beef which makes them extra satisfying and filling for meat lovers. I had my first taste of them in Greece, and the ones prepared at Friends Too give those a run for their money. For some, the texture of the grape leaves is unappealing, and I’ll admit it took me a few tries to get past it, but now dolmades rank at the top of my list when it comes to Greek cuisine.
Friends Plate for Two, $19.99 – mousaka, pastichio, two spanakopita, two tiropitakia and two pieces of pita bread. This is another dish perfect for those unsure if they like Greek food. It offers a variety of some Greek staples and is enough to share with a friend. Mousaka is a baked eggplant, potatoes and ground beef casserole topped with béchamel sauce (a roux made with butter and flour). Pastichio is a baked pasta and ground beef casserole topped with a béchamel sauce. Both mousaka ($10.99) and pastichio ($9.99) are offered on the menu separately.
Greek Salad, $7.49 – mixed greens, beets, pineapple, tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, pepperocini, red onions, cucumbers and croutons. No Greek menu would be complete without a Greek salad, and this one delivers. The large is filling because it is loaded with veggies. A small is also available for $5.79.
Not brave enough to try a full meal? Friends Too has an extensive appetizers menu that includes hummus, tzatziki, and spicy feta dip, served with two pitas ($7.99); pork and chicken souvlaki, served with tzatziki and two pitas ($6.99); saganaki, a Greek kaseri cheese flambéed at your table and serve with two pitas ($7.99); and charbroiled octopus ($7.99).
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Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
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Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
Open Mic Night — Variety at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Scratch N Sniff 2.0 w/1/4 Kit Kurt — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8 p.m., no cover, 432-8966
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Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Three Rivers Karaoke w/Rob — at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
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41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709