Colossus was a surprise to us, offering far better Greek food than we expected. Clearly a superior choice for dinner, I’m very tempted to claim it’s the best Greek within half an hour of Snellville. As our overall experience with Greek cuisine is neither broad nor exhaustive, I’m also happy saying take any of my claims with a grain of salt. Still, I’d have no qualms taking out of town guests to this restaurant.

It’s perhaps the largest restaurant near the corner of Five Forks Trickum and Rockbridge Road, on the right as you’re heading south down Five Forks, and located a bit before the intersection. Inside, the restaurant is longish, as opposed to square. Staff were wearing black tops and the men were wearing baseball caps when we arrived. There are tables and booths, and as the eatery is thin and one side has good windows, if you love light you can get plenty of it.

really good.

My wife ordered pizza, I ordered the Greek plate and my daughter ordered the Moussaka. We ordered salads and appetizers, some fried zucchini. The fried zucchini was excellent.

The Greek plate is a tasty meat paradise.

Moussaka. The hit of the meal.

Of the entrées, the pizza had no crust to speak of, except at the edges, just a floppy “suburban special”. But the Greek food was superior and impressive. The Moussaka was the hit of the table, something I expect we’ll be ordering again and again. The plates were enormous and we took back food from almost every entrée we ordered.

In conclusion? This is a place we’re likely to go back to. Overall, we were impressed by what we ate. This restaurant is a keeper.

Colossus Family Restaurant
5385 Five Forks Trickum Road
Stone Mountain, GA 30047
(770) 923-9852

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It’s a hole in the wall at the corner of Five Forks and Sugarloaf Parkway, in the same location as the now closed Totori Fresh Grill. It’s pretty, just recently opened, and already police are stopping there, on cycles no less.

Once inside, you order at a countertop from a whiteboard menu above the counter. To the left of the counter is a pastry display.

Athens Grill has a pretty basic menu: gyros and kofta kabobs and souvlaki steaks, very similar to the online menus I can find for the Loganville Athens Grill. Same owners? Perhaps, but there is no mention of any chain on the take out menus.

Souvlaki steak platter, extra salad and no fries. Like a cheese steak in a pita.

Kofta kababs, with fries.

Super gyro platter, extra salad.

#1 (gyro) with fries.

There are sweets as well. Bird’s nests, little roses, baklava.

Bird’s nest upper left and lower right. Little roses, upper middle. Baklava on the upper right.

My family preferred the little roses. Not too sweet, they said.

Athens Grill
1430 Five Forks Trickum Road, Suite 260
Lawrenceville GA 30044

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Some of the best things I’ve put in my mouth over the past couple months are the Cornish Kababs at Baba’s Gyro and Kabab, the Norcross version.

Tender, flavorful, they make you realize the mild taste of chicken can be supercharged in the right hands. Don’t be surprised if the manager drops a small shaker bottle of sumac by your plate. He surely did mine.

“It’s not a spice, but a flavor enhancer.”

The day I showed I arrived just after a lunch peak, and the place was packed. It has wifi, and people were there with laptops, working remotely. Prices run into the low teens for the more interesting lunch entrees, but don’t let that stop you. There is a world of flavor here.

Baba’s Gyro and Kabab
5270 Peachtree Pkwy
Norcross, GA 30092
(678) 966-9994

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Note: Watching tweets here on a Kindle led me eventually to be interviewed :-#. Whether that interview ever sees the light of day, I’ll probably never know, but in the voice of Yoda, cool that was.

It’s the best known of the Mediterranean restaurants in Shreveport, and one I’ve been curious about for some time. From the outside it looks like a hole in the wall, and most of its business, the day I dropped by, was through a drive through window. Inside, though, it’s nice, with heavy expensive furniture dominating the scene. It is actually pretty small inside, so if you’re coming during a rush, you might not get inside seating.

I had their lamb chops and my dad had their muffuletta. It was a big muffuletta with a traditional seeded bun. I liked the chops, enjoyed what I ate, but the contrast from the modest take out window to the luxurious inside is really tangible.

Yeero Yeero
4511 Youree Dr
Shreveport, LA 71105
(318) 219-0027

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Large chunks of lobster and Alaskan king crab swim over the top of this enormous bowl of seafood soup. It was a gift, to my daughter, for making an unexpected ‘A’ in school.

Not everyone was as thrilled with this dish as my daughter was. My wife felt it a bit too salty. But with serving sizes so large we were bound to take food home, no one went away hungry.

Marietta Diner
306 Cobb Parkway
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 423-9390

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Euro Gourmet Grill is on the corner of Gwinnett Drive and Scenic Highway, just about where 124 merges into Lawrenceville and Lawrenceville starts turning nice. It’s a section of the city with a lot of food really. This portion of Gwinnett Drive has at least three European themed stores, and this eatery. I had seen this restaurant before, while trying to find Two Brothers Barbecue (which I still can’t locate), and on a day when nothing in Snellville appealed, other eateries in Lawrenceville were packed, we ended up here, and ravenous.

Given the name, I  had expected it to be pretentious and overpriced, and Euro Gourmet Grill is anything but. It’s full of Balkan comfort foods, a few Greek favorites, fish, coffee, and desserts. It has inside and outside seating and it has food choices I’d not have expected even in Lawrenceville. Take Euro’s cevapcici, for example:

It’s a plate full of bread stuffed with sausages about three inches long. They’re tasty and juicy, but a little mild. For a spicier take on Euro’s glavna jela, you can try their sudzukice, a spicier sausage. They have a broad variety of stews, pies, salads, and desserts. And they have a dedicated clientèle: every time I’ve passed you can see people outside, on the porch.

I had a grilled trout this day, and my wife a gyro. Her gyro was excellent, easily one of the best I’ve tried in this town. The trout was quite good, as were the vegetables and the gljive, or mushrooms.

Service was quite good, even though it seemed as if there was only one active staffer this day.

I’m thrilled with what we’ve found. Will I be going back? You can count on it.

Verdict: Shockingly good, shockingly inexpensive. Highly recommended.

Euro Gourmet Grill
488 Gwinnett Drive
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
(770) 513-7788

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The Marietta Diner is an Atlanta icon, the model on which most diners in the city are based. It isn’t a product of random fame, but rather a function of it performing better than the competition. It starts with a good staff, dressed in white shirts and tie, staff that is courteous and cooperative. Having more than one staff member work with your table seems routine here. It continues with a deft handling of a large menu. Food isn’t all staples, nor is it boring.

The diner has a good looking outside, though the combination of chrome, glass, and gray cinder block is an interesting one. The Marietta Diner is part of a family of restaurants, the sign announcing the sister restaurants clearly visible from the diner parking lot. Inside, brown wood is supplemented with a color scheme dealing in burnt oranges and reds, resulting in a more subdued look than many neon and chrome diner interiors.

On this day I had a series of dilemmas caused by the menu, which I mostly solved by making the most conservative choices I could. There was an Irish lamb stew in the specials, which looked really good. But did it have potatoes? If so, how many? So, I chickened out and had the Mediterranean panini instead. Yes, it had sweet potato fries on the side, but I didn’t have to eat them. It came with a soup, so I chose cream of spinach, trying to avoid the pastas of, say, chicken noodle. The soup came out quickly.

I tasted creamy, buttery, and cheesy flavors in the soup. The flavors of spinach were more hinted at than dominant. This isn’t a food I’ve had much of, since my diet pretty strictly limits my fat consumptions, and the soup was quite rich.

The panini was an interesting dish. There was far more cheese in it than chicken, and the vegetable slices were thick and delicious. The chicken that was there added a distinct grilled flavor to the sandwich and the gooey cheese acted as the glue that held it all together.

The serving of fries was huge and enticing. I had one fry. I couldn’t resist. In general, dishes in this eatery were enormous. The wings plate and the chicken fried steak plates served next to me could easily feed two people. Take out bags looked like grocery shopping bags. Desserts, in glass and chrome display cases, were huge.

This diner brings back memories, as the first place I stayed in Atlanta was a couple minutes away from this diner. Age seems to have enhanced the reputation of this eatery. Guy Fieri’s visit made it much easier to get my family here (no photos of that visit though). And the sheer efficiency of the place, the quality of service, the easily accessible menu keeps people coming back for more.

Verdict: An iconic diner that easily holds up to its reputation. Highly recommended.

Marietta Diner
306 Cobb Parkway South (i.e. US 41)
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 423-9390

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Notes: Other blog reviews of this diner include one by John Bickford, another by Amy of Amy on Food, and also the blog Vainas Varias.

Messina’s is a little hard to find. Head northeast along Highway 29 from the intersection of Beaver Ruin and Lawrenceville Highway. Go past the maroon sign of an Indian restaurant, pass the Hispanic place. And there it is, on the left, and hard to see. The building is much longer than it is wide, and doesn’t present a lot of face to the road. The sign is scarily short, in an age of oversized trucks and SUVs, and can’t be relied upon.

Though the AJC reviewed this restaurant in 2005 (and access Atlanta managed not to lose this review), I’m not sure it resembles the place Lori Johnston discussed after some five years. What I saw were  dark bare formica tables, showing clear signs of chipping and wear. Chairs were the inexpensive metal tube type you can pick up at Wall Mart or Target. The building seemed a little low roofed and a little small, a holdover from the days when the average home was perhaps 1,000 square feet in size. There are some nice features otherwise. The walls of the building are well maintained and the booths look nice, if a bit old. But this isn’t a place trying to win on looks.

It does seem to win the hearts of those in uniform. Two sheriffs were in the eatery when I arrived with my daughter. A gaggle of nurses soon followed.  The nurses must have ordered by phone, because soon after they sat their food arrived. Every plate I could see looked large, and the serving of fries was ample. That, at least, was an interesting sign. Otherwise, the clientèle were all over the board. Couples and singles, families, groups of men, groups of women, all combinations could be seen. Customers never filled the place, but they never stopped coming either.

I ended up ordering an Italian panini and my daughter got a gyro plate. She got fries, and I ended up with a side salad. There was very little to the side salad, just romaine lettuce and onions, and after the plain looks of the eatery and the rather plain salad, I was wondering if Messina’s was going to be a bust. Thankfully the sandwiches pushed aside that thought.

The panini I ordered was tasty, had a lot of flavor. My daughter’s gyro was huge. Half of it was about the size of my fist. She was very pleased with the taste and the sheer amount of food.

Service was decent. I can’t say it was much better than that. There were loud spills. People up front tended to be ignored at points. Staff could be slow seating people. The whole restaurant had the feeling of being a little understaffed on the day we arrived.

The cost of our meal was a nice surprise. Two of us were fed for about 14 dollars. None of what we had were the lunch specials, which were advertised at $5.25.

Verdict: Inexpensive food, with a lot of flavor. Recommended.

Messina’s Mediterranean Cuisine
4075 Lawrenceville Highway
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 935-9990

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It’s a pretty restaurant, with great hours and an almost perfect location. But it has a history of erratic health inspections, and in my hands it has a history of being good to very good one day and ordinary yet another day. I’ve eaten there at least six times. Four times were good to excellent, the other two not so good.

Like most diners in the Atlanta area, it’s almost a Greek deli in disguise. Gyros, souvlaki, baklava are all part and parcel of what they serve. The menu is enormous, with hundreds of choices, and that begs the question of how expert a chef can be when they have 200 or so different items to cook.

It’s located at the corner of highway 78 and 124, in the same mall as Sri Thai and Provino’s Italian Restaurant. Like all diners it’s heavy on the neon and like many diners, it’s open late, usually until 11pm. The last time I ate there it was after 10pm and I wanted something, anything to eat before I went to bed.

I asked for a cheeseburger, medium, with Texas fries. There were three other groups of people in the restaurant around me, a pair of young women just in back of me, a quartet of older ladies and gentlemen in front. Across the restaurant and sitting on a stool were a couple of older men. Service was good this night, and the burger came back quickly. It was a half pound burger, the meat wide and thin, and pink in the middle.  The burger was served with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and mustard on the side. The Texas fries, a huge portion, were unusual. Instead of being a quarter inch thick and maybe an inch wide, these fries were made by cutting potatoes into inch wide slices and then quartering the slices. Nonetheless, both the burger and the fries were quite good. I’ve had generally good luck at the Snellville diner with burgers and sandwiches.

Verdict: With some careful menu choices, you’re likely to get good food. But I can’t guarantee it.

Snellville Diner
2302 Main Street E
Snellville GA 30078
(770) 972-0000

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