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Souvlaki Stop - Levittown

Souvlaki Stop
156 Gardiners Avenue
Levittown, NY 11756

Overall: 7/10
Food: 9/10
Service: 5/10
Decor: 4/10
Value: 8/10

We love Greek food. I was raised on it, cook it at home, and are always looking for a new favorite Greek restaurant. Before moving to Nassau County, our favorite takeout place was Greek Bites in Center Moriches and still a favorite, Mediterranean Snack Bar in Huntington. Since moving, we've tried a few places and Souvlaki Stop in Levittown surely stands out.

We received the seasonal book of neighborhood coupons and sure enough, there was a 15% off coupon for Souvlaki Stop, takeout or dine in only. Perfect excuse to finally try it. I looked over the menu on their website. They have typical Greek food and then a few American items like burgers, fries and chicken fingers. I was pleased with their prices, and decided to give them a call. It was busy, so I called back a few minutes later and ordered for pick-up. The person who helped on the phone was pleasant. I told him I had the coupon and he said the food would be ready in 15 minutes.

We ordered the Dolma appetizer, a Chicken Platter (Souvlaki) that comes with Pita, choice of Soup or Salad, and a choice of Lemon Potatoes, Grilled Vegetables, Rice or Fries. We opted for the Salad and the Rice Pilaf. We also ordered the Beef and Lamb Gyro Sandwich with Tzatziki (choice of that or Red Sauce), and an extra side of pita and tzaztiki, each for $0.75. For dessert, we decided to try the Baklava.

While I'd usually order delivery, I was picking up this time since I had a coupon. Or at least I thought I did. I accidentally left it at home and it was too late to turn around when I realized my mistake. When I arrived, the person who helped me was unwilling to honor the coupon because I didn't have it present. I figured that would happen. I wanted to pay with a debit card but since the phone line was being tied up, I had to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Another employee was on the phone with a customer, apparently for a long time and getting frustrated with the customer's incessant questions. I'm assuming the customer was asking how much certain things would be because the employee was saying, "it would be around...x amount of dollars.." a few times. It seemed like the person on the phone wanted an exact amount, which I don't blame them, but the employee was unable to really answer the questions. That person probably didn't order anything and won't be in the future. After the phone call was done, the employee said something about it being a 20 minute conversation. I was finally able to pay. Considering the wait to pay when it wasn't even busy, I don't know why a business wouldn't have 2 phone lines--one for card transactions and one for customer calls.

While I was waiting to pay, I had my chance to really look around. The decor is minimal, and I don't think it was really inviting or comfortable looking. The glass display case at the counter was dirty on the inside. Not steamy, but actually kind of grimy. I don't think I'd ever dine in there and had the food not been as good as it was, I wouldn't have planned on ordering from there again. A handwritten paper scotch taped on the glass case advertised homemade rice pudding, and other desserts brought in from Astoria. Paper cups and foil trays hang from a ceiling pipe to advertise prices. To be honest, it's borderline dingy, and I can't imagine it costing much to spruce it up a bit. Having said all that, I was not expecting much in terms of food, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

The food was plentiful, and so delicious. We split the salad, enough for 2 people, and it came with one dolamata, and some green Greek vinaigrette that I just couldn't figure out what special herb or spice was in it. I kept going back trying to taste it but I couldn't put my finger on it. The chicken souvlaki and rice pilaf were equally delicious, with the simple tzatziki sauce. The dolma brought me back to my childhood and had the still slightly toothsome grape leaves and rice. The beef and lamb gyro meat was some of the best I've had in a long time in terms of taste and not being overcooked on the grill. I wish I ordered just one side of the red sauce because I would have liked to taste it. I know for next time. We were so full from the food that the baklava had to wait for a few hours later, and it was good, but I've had better. It had a lot of extra phyllo and not enough nuts, but the flavor was spot on. I would totally order everything all over again, so I think that says a lot!

Next time I'll probably order delivery, since it's free with orders over $10. If you're in the Levittown area and looking for great Greek food, this is the place to try! You just have to be able to get passed appearances first!

UPDATE: We did order again, delivery this time, and it arrived very quickly! About 20 minutes is all it took, and the food arrived hot and perfect like last time. I made sure to try the Red Sauce and it really tasted very similar to marinara, but had that extra onion-y goodness of a Greek onion sauce, with slices of onions throughout. It was nice mixing it up a bit instead of always using tzatziki alone.

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