“Our goal is to transport Pittsburghers to a taverna in Greece,” says Chris Balouris, owner of EVIA Greek restaurant in Bellevue.
The spot at 564 Lincoln Ave. has been operating under the radar for a few months, but will host a grand opening celebration today, June 10, starting at 4:30 p.m. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The Balouris family ran an eatery on the same street from 1957 through 1995. The new place is named after the Greek island from which they launched their American dream.
“We know Greek food,” says Balouris, who grew up in Bellevue. “We travel to Greece every year to visit our relatives, and our trips will help us keep our thumb on the pulse of what’s on the market and bring that influence back to our restaurant.
The Balouris crew also owns Salonika Imports in Lawrenceville, which was founded in 1987. The business brings in products, including olive oil, olives, feta cheese and pasta, directly from Greece. All of the imports, as well as fresh, local ingredients, will be included in EVIA dishes.
The menu features staples of the Mediterranean diet such as dolmades, pastitsio and spanakopita, as well as family recipes that can’t be found anywhere else in Pittsburgh.
Halloumi fries, a semi-hard, brined and deep-fried cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk, is served with yogurt dipping sauces. Avgolemono, an egg and lemon soup with orzo, is another Balouris specialty.
He’s happy to bring his culinary heritage back to his hometown.