Not far too several many years in the past, a fellow food writer joked to me that there ended up no superior dining places in Grand Prairie. How immediately issues transform.
Now the possibilities on supply are virtually mind-boggling. A great deal of the Dallas area’s West African community is concentrated in the suburb. The new Asia Situations Sq. food items courtroom bustles with electricity. On Main Street in Grand Prairie’s historic downtown, Zavala’s Barbecue just produced Texas Monthly’s vaunted checklist of the state’s top 50 barbecue joints.
Only two doors down from Zavala’s stands an unassuming newcomer: a shipping container in which Athens indigenous Dimitrios Vagenas is cooking some of the region’s finest Greek foodstuff.
His organization, My Kuzina, is largely a food-prep and catering assistance with pickup and delivery choices. But My Kuzina’s kitchen also has a support window overlooking the patio of FireHouse Gastro Park, so it was only a make any difference of time ahead of any individual questioned if they could keep for lunch. Now the window is open up on weekdays at lunchtime and Saturdays at lunch and evening meal.
Vagenas was born and elevated in Athens and only arrived in the United States in 2014, to sign up for his wife, Margarita Takou, who’d manufactured the transfer a few several years previously to get her Ph.D.
“He was quite interested in the kitchen, aiding his mom and his grandmother cooking,” Takou states. “A lot of his expertise, he took that expertise from his mom and his grandmother.” (Vagenas is the executive chef and operator, but he shyly proposed we job interview his spouse alternatively due to the fact “she does the conversing.”)
Immediately after a childhood cooking with relatives, he went qualified as an grownup, attending culinary school in Athens and operating on the island of Paros. In Texas, he used several years in kitchens at Omni Lodges in Dallas and Irving just before getting furloughed in March 2020.
As Vagenas put in the pandemic months at property, cooking for his rising loved ones, the thought for a Greek food prep enterprise arrived into focus. At first My Kuzina was meant to be a ghost kitchen, before the FireHouse locale supplied the potential for extra.
1 issue that stands out about My Kuzina is the availability of home-cooking foodstuff. That is not to say “home-cooked” food items it is a offered that Vagenas can make anything from scratch.
In every single culture, there are specified foodstuff that are connected with places to eat and others that are associated with feeding on at household. Most Greek cafe menus, for example, provide a good deal of gyros and souvlaki, but earning your have gyros on a vertical spit at dwelling is impractical. For the very same purpose, number of property cooks are geared up to serve sashimi, shawarma, souffle or saganaki.
The reverse of all that — foodstuff like casseroles, sheet pan roasts, a single-pot stews — is residence food stuff, the things that barely at any time exhibits up on a cafe menu. Other than at My Kuzina.
When we frequented on a recent weekend, the specials included gigante beans braised with tomatoes, carrots, celery and loads of herbs, and a “casserole” of spinach and rice. Spinach and rice may seem like a punishment for small children, but it turned out to be my favored factor on the desk: lemony, dazzling, easy to unfold onto wedges of pita, with loads of hearty stewed greens.
“Greeks are incredibly employed to these meals, but in a Greek cafe in this article, people have in no way seen, like, an okra and chicken stew,” Takou points out. “It’s my sister’s favorite foods, but no one below understands it. Which is an element we are making an attempt to acquire as nicely, to teach people on what standard Greek foods implies.”
Of training course, Vagenas can do cafe meals way too. His pita wraps are lunchtime fixtures. We particularly favored the pork gyro souvlaki, loaded with flavorful meat and served with easy, perfect tzatziki and lemony roasted potatoes.
In tribute to My Kuzina’s residence-cooking ethos, we above-requested on our stop by, then repurposed the leftovers at house. I tipped the braised gigante beans into a pan, introducing spinach, parsley and extra white beans for a healthful lunch. My associate built a pastry crust and baked the spinach and rice casserole into a pie, stirring in creamy feta and an egg to keep the filling together.
Our seemingly lavish lunch purchase ($40 in addition suggestion) became four foods every for two persons.
Takou claims that they hope prospects who take pleasure in a quick lunch will return for the meal prep menu, which requires 24 hours’ discover but spans a broader variety of dishes such as moussaka, stuffed vegetables, giouvetsi (beef and orzo casserole) and traditional desserts.
She also provides that the small business, which started off with a pandemic furlough, is increasing into the family’s dream occur true.
“He came to the States for me, he supported my selection, and I aid him now,” Takou suggests. “We’re residing happily at any time after. We have two young ones, a newborn 4-month-outdated daughter and a 4-yr-previous son. It was a good deal of births this yr, our daughter and My Kuzina.”
My Kuzina, 321 W. Main St., Grand Prairie (at FireHouse Gastro Park). mykuzina.com.