Kalos Orisate (Welcome) to Greece at Kipos Greek Taverna in Chapel Hill, NC.
Kipos is a fairly new addition to the well-known and highly rated Giorgios Hospitality & Lifestyle Group in North Carolina. The idea to build this restaurant stems from the owner, Giorgios’, childhood in Greece. Kipos, meaning ‘garden’ in Greek, brings authentic Greek cuisine as well as a traditional bakery to the town of Chapel Hill.
The restaurant is comprised of a long bar, bakery (sweets and bread), three, fairly spacious indoor table sections, and two outdoor dining areas (the one in front on Franklin Street is more for a proper dining experience; while the other is smaller, more compact, and on the side). Now, be warned that should you be coming from the pay & display (with no ‘display’ receipt given) car park in the rear of the restaurant, off Robenson Street, the first restaurant entrance seen with outdoor tables (up the stairs on your left) you may see a desk and computer, but there will be no hostess at this end. I was waiting for a while before realising that I had to go further into the restaurant to find the hostess. If it wasn’t for a table being served in eye-sight, I would have thought they were closed and left. Eventually I found someone further inside to direct me. The hostess is stationed at the very front entrance only, in which you enter directly from West Franklin Street (see photograph below). I thought this could have been handled better, as there are three entrances to this restaurant and it’s not very clear which one you need to go into, should you be coming from the car park suggested.
Well lit and with a mix of Greek and modern decor, this restaurant is very pleasing to the eye.
The waiter I was graced with, who was from Kalamata, Greece, was extremely helpful, pleasant, and was able to assist with the nice selection of Greek wines available, which I was unfamiliar with. He suggested a wine, Gala Santorini, which was just to my liking and exactly as I had requested (as far as taste and dryness) – perfect for the fish ordered as well. Aside from the construction currently undergoing on the street, I had the sun on my skin on their outdoor patio with a perfect glass of dry Greek wine and traditional fish on the way – couldn’t ask for more.
I had ordered the Grilled Octopus Salad (see above) and the Kalamaria (Calamari) and Fennel salad (see below). The Grilled Octopus Salad contained grilled octopus, 1 hard-boiled whole egg (cut into 1/4s), French beans, black olives, poached potatoes, and chickpeas. Honestly, there were too many chickpeas and not enough Octopus, which was unfortunate, since the latter is supposed to be the main part of the dish. However, the Kalamaria and Fennel salad had a more abundant portion of fried calamari, with pepper and fennel, atop a bed of Romaine hearts, roasted red pepper, and a slight, not over-powering lemon dressing. I know the U.S. is known for large portions, but less lettuce would have been better in my opinion (the photo below is deceiving – there is actually much more lettuce under the calamari than it looks). It seemed like a waste when so much was left in the dish. All little things aside, the taste of both dishes was wonderful and light – just what was needed for a hot, sunny day. I would highly recommend trying this restaurant. One of these days I will have to try their dinner menu.
Before you leave, you have to take a look at the bakery in front of the main entrance. The freshly made bread and Olga’s daily made sweets are delicious. I have honestly never seen a Baklava so big in my life! The sweets sold at the bakery are also available for dessert at your table, but who wouldn’t want to take more home?
Kipos is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday every week and their Sunday Brunch menu is highly suggested; however, I cannot attest to it, as I had gone for lunch during a weekday.
For more information, menu, and reservations:
431 W. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514