It was just a move across the street - but the details of packing up It's Greek To Me and shuttling it a few hundred feet - overnight - were complex. It required free labor from friends, quickly tearing down and reassembling equipment and as owner Jim Wick put it, working stealthily like "Greek ninjas" through Sunday night into dawn Monday.
The restaurant began serving gyros and pizza yesterday afternoon in its new location at 1702 Sixth Ave.
Plans for the move began last spring when Wick bought an old building with a lot more appeal than his original location. Wick opened It's Greek To Me 22 years ago with business partner Johnnie Dimakis in a cramped building at a weird intersection where Sprague, Division and Sixth Avenue collide. That former building was limited in space in every way imaginable - tiny kitchen, tiny dining room, a tricky drive-thru setup that became a precarious "please don't hit my car when you back out" event. Anyone who has stood in the rain waiting for a gyro or pizza slice because the entry was crammed will like this news - the new dining room is triple the size of the old site. Wick said the style of ordering – at the counter – remains unchanged. And the time-honored tradition of having a gyro loaded with tzatziki handed to you in your car? Still intact. The new building has a drive-thru.
Wick has a lengthy resume in the South Sound restaurant world. After Wick and Dimakis opened the original It's Greek To Me - the duo parted ways, opening different versions of Greek restaurants, only to return to work together at the downtown Puyallup It’s Greek To Me in September 2010. The Puyallup It’s Greek To Me offers a more formal setting than the grab-and-go nature of the Tacoma restaurant. In Puyallup, there's table service and a full bar. Both restaurants have a menu of gyros and souvlaki sandwiches, Greek salads, dolmades, calamari steak, moussaka, spanakopita, baklava, pizza and pasta. With the move in Tacoma, Wick kept the menu and pricing the same, adding espresso and a handful of new dishes.
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The new building received an extensive overhaul - inside and out. Wick originally had planned to move in January, but delay after delay pushed the move to March. During the months-long rehab at 1702 Sixth Ave., Wick developed a fascination with unearthing the history of the building. Built in 1919, it was first used as an auto service business, then an aeronautical school in the 1940s -a barber shop and barbecue restaurant after that. If you drop by, be sure to get a look at the mural on the side of the building painted by Angie Capps of Murals by Angie.
It’s Greek To Me Tacoma locationWhere: 1702 Sixth Ave., TacomaInfo: 253-272-1375, www.itsgreektomerestaurant.com
It’s Greek To Me Puyallup locationWhere: 328 S. Meridian, PuyallupInfo: 253-200-2333, www.itsgreektomerestaurant.com