KATY MAGAZINE | July 2019 By Natalie Cook Clark
Motorists can fill up more than their gas tank at the corner of Kingsland Boulevard and Grand Parkway. Attached to the Shell station, Pappa Gyros serves up authentic Greek dishes. The tiny restaurant recently gained national attention on Yelp's 2019 Top 100 Places to Eat - Pappa Gyros ranked 12th in the U.S., and number one in Houston. Chef Christos Batsios deserves the credit for the restaurant’s success, after all, he is Pappa Gyros.
Chef Christos Batsios, Pappa Gyros
A Gas Station Gem
From the street, Pappa Gyros looks like a small, quick-serve restaurant catering to customers taking a break from the road. The family-operated establishment, adjacent to a gas station, is actually Katy's original Greek-American restaurant.
"I wanted to recreate the feel you'd get in an East Coast family Greek diner," says Batsios.
Growing up in the Kitchen
Christos Batsios grew up around food and cooking. His father, Georgio, a Greek-Italian immigrant, owned three restaurants in Michigan. Four generations before him also owned restaurants.
Christos Batsios in the kitchen with his dad Georgio.
Cooking is in Christos Batsios' blood. "I have over 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry and more if you include working as a child in my family's restaurant in Michigan," says Batsios.
Cooking Up Pappa Gyros
The Batsios father and son team bought the closed Sapore Ristorante Italiano in Katy. They restored the restaurant, and Sapore continues to satisfy diners with the Batsios' great food. But Christos Batsios still wanted more.
"I wanted something small with an old-school counter that would appeal to locals," explains Batsios.
From young Batsios' vision, Pappa Gyros was created. The 25-seat restaurant offers counter service, and fills take-away and online orders. At Pappa Gyros, Batsios shares his passion for Greek food with his customers. The authenticity of his fare sets him apart from other restaurants because the ingredients and the flavors stay true to his roots.
"My favorite dish is the Taki’s Combo Plate. It is a combination of fresh sliced gyro meat, grilled chicken and pork skewers, Greek salad, rice pilaf and stuffed grape leaves. It’s a great way to sample all the delicious flavors of Greece!"
The Pappa Gyros menu features authentic Greek favorites like lamb and chicken gyros, Spanakopita (spinach pie), Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and pork or chicken souvlaki (kebobs). Batsios also offers customers American fare like Angus beef hamburgers, and “Chicago Favorites,” Italian sausage and his “Chicago Dog.”
The savory appetizers and entrees are balanced by the sweet-tasting desserts. True to the Greek heritage, Pappa Gyros offers Rizogalo (traditional Greek rice pudding), Koulouria (braided butter cookies), Baklava and more.