During my first job out of college, I frequented a diner for what became a weekly Greek salad lunch ritual. That may have been over ten years ago, but it inspired a life-long love affair with the dish. So when a friend suggested trying out newly opened FRESKOS in Hamden, I jumped at the chance to try their greek salad and was happily met with a heaping bowl filled with romaine lettuce and topped with chopped cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, stuffed grape leaves, and a big block of feta. Served with warm pita, and greek dressing, I have finally found my local antidote to that Greek salad craving.
FRESKOS is a modern Greek fast casual restaurant, that leans towards light and fresh Greek dishes such as souvlaki and gyro sandwiches which are served with warm pita, red onion, tomato, tzaziki, and dill. In addition to sandwiches, FRESKOS focuses on seasonal salads and soups, such as the avgolemono soup, a traditional Greek soup with a chicken broth base filled with lemon, egg and rice. A FRESKOS original is a Greek Pita Pizza, which struck me as an apt Greek interpretation to its pizza-loving location just a stone's throw from New Haven.
Owner Peter Vouras is a cheerful presence at FRESKOS, echoing the casual restaurant's light-filled and deep cerulean blue-accented space. On one wall hangs a small chalkboard with a Greek word of the day. Recently that word was Ηλιόλουστος which is "sunny" in English. I couldn't think of a better way to describe this fresh and delicious new option to the New Haven-area dining scene.
5 Questions for Peter Vouras of FRESKOS
1. What inspired you to open FRESKOS in Hamden?
I had been looking for a venue that I could launch FRESKOS and the cross section of Dixwell & Whitney seemed ideal. Also by tapping into the Quinnipiac student market I could give the student an alternative to pizza/delis and junk food.
2. How would you describe your approach?
I patterned FRESKOS as a fast casual sandwich shop that you would find in Athens or one of the islands. Everything is fresh and made to order. The menu is simple. The dishes are healthy and the decor is open, inviting, and clean utilizing the colors of Greece.
3. What can we not miss if we visit Freskos?
The classic gyro. It is made in the traditional way of cooking the meat vertically on a cooker. Many places use frozen strips. We put the meat on a warm pita with tomato and red onion and top it with tzaziki made with Greek yogurt, cucumber & garlic. We top it off with some sprigs of fresh dill.
4. Your Greek Salad (and especially those stuffed grape leaves) are terrific. What is the secret to a great Greek salad?
Using the freshest ingredients is key. We use vine ripened tomatoes, Kalamata olives and imported feta. It’s a meal in itself. You can add chicken, pork, gyro, or shrimp to it.
5. Congratulations on your recent opening. What can we expect to see from FRESKOS?
Thank you and hopefully you will see a lot more popping up in the future. This location is the first of many.
2323 Whitney Avenue