In anticipation of Souvla's upcoming expansion—a second location opens on Divisadero this weekend!—we sat down with the mastermind behind the drool-worthy Greek food. Get your knife and fork ready for this delicious Q&A!
1. What inspired you to open a second location?
We're literally bursting at the seams on Hayes Street, and we wanted to provide more space for our guests to enjoy the restaurant. I've always wanted to have multiple locations of Souvla, and we couldn't be happier with the location of our second restaurant. NoPa/Divisadero corridor is such a vibrant, awesome spot. We're really excited to be a part of it.
2. Why did you choose 531 Divisadero?
I fell in love with 531 Divisadero when I saw the tall ceilings and the tree-lined patio in the back. We probably saw more than 50 spaces in San Francisco over the past 9 months. We're very particular not only about the qualities of a physical space, but also the neighborhood where it is.
3. Will there be any differences in the two menus?
We plan to keep the menus nearly identical to start. You know what they say... if ain't broke, don't fix it.
4. What are you most looking forward to?
We've learned an awful lot in the two years we've been open in Hayes Valley. We're looking forward to taking everything that we've learned here and applying it up the hill!
5. What about San Francisco inspires your food?
Access to incredible product, and the ability and freedom to think outside the box. Though Souvla is firmly rooted in classic Greek street food and the foods of my upbringing, we certainly exercise some creative liberties from time to time.
6. What do you love most about Greek food?
How simple and clean it is. People speak a lot lately about "clean" food; I believe, like so many other things, it originated with the Greeks!
7. What's your signature dish?
I would normally point to our pork sandwich, which is our homage to the classic Greek souvlaki/gyro sandwich, but our chicken salad is now our best selling item. It's rotisserie-roasted chicken over kale with pickled red onion, orange, pea shoots, Mizithra cheese, and "Granch" dressing — our spin on Ranch dressing with Greek yogurt. That, and our frozen Greek yogurt.
8. Where is your favorite place to eat in San Francisco?
Generally a toss-up between Bar Tartine, Zuni and NOPA. I like the classics. We also have an awesome traditional of dining out at The House of Prime Rib on the eve of Souvla's anniversary.
9. What do you usually cook at home?
Ha! I leave that mostly to my fiancée ... she's the better cook between us. I do tend to handle the weekend/day-off breakfasts though. I'm referred to as "Chef de Breakfast" at times. I think I'm pretty great with eggs.
10. What's an indulgence that you would never give up?
Champagne. Hands down.
11. Which items off 7x7's Big Eat 2016 have you eaten?
Well, it looks like I've done okay here:
1. Pickled French fries, Al's Place
3. Trout tostada, Cala
4. Greek yogurt with baklava crumbles and syrup, Souvla
5. Shigoku Oysters with preserved Meyer lemon,P etit Crenn
7. Fried onioncakes, House of Nanking
9. Chilled squid ink pasta, Octavia
11. Rabbit pappardelle, Flour + Water
14. Jane bread with butter, Huxley
15. Beyond ramen, Orenchi Beyond
16. Sicilian-style pizza, Tony's Pizza Napoletana
18. Super carnitas dorado burrito, La Taqueria
22. Fresh baked cookies, Spruce
23. Brisket, 4505 Burgers & BBQ
24. Pad kee mao, Kin Khao
28. Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee, Humphry Slocombe
29. Xiao long bao, Kingdom of Dumpling
31. Chips and salsa, Papalote
35. Pretzel, Biergarten
36. El de la Foto, Los Shucos
41. Garlic quail, Lers Ros
45. Tea leaf salad, Burma Superstar
47. Okonomiyaki, Namu Gaji
50. Pintxo flight, Aatxe
51. Smoked deviled eggs, Park Tavern
64. Zucchini cakes, Kokkari
67. Lemon ricotta pancakes, Plow
68. Sweetbreads, Monsieur Benjamin
75. Blistered green beans, Hawker Fare
77. The Rebel Within, Craftsman and Wolves
79. Any yakitori, Rintaro
82. Loaf of bread, Tartine Bakery
84. Lumberjack cake, Frances
85. Crispy imperial rolls, The Slanted Door
88. C.A. state bird with provisions, State Bird Provisions
89. $35 prix fixe + pasta, Trestle
90. Dried porcini doughnuts, Rich Table
93. Charcuterie board, Trou Normand
96. Toast, The Mill
99. Tasting Menu, Coi
....so 39% I guess.