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You Can Bet on Nick the Greek’s Real Street Food in Santa Monica

September 19, 2021

What are the odds? For Nick the Greek, a Greek restaurant group that has opened now in Santa Monica, California, there's a Greek-American family behind the idea and there's Nick. And Nick. And Nick.

The three Nicks are cousins but it's Anton Van Happen who brought a Nick the Greek to the city with its offerings of souvlaki, gyros, pita sandwiches, and more in a quick-service restaurant for those on the go.

“I grew up in Europe myself and the Euro pita sandwich was something I could never find anywhere in the U.S. that tasted exactly like it did in Europe, and with Nick the Greek that’s exactly how it was,” Van Happen told the Santa Monica Daily Press.

The menu is based on traditional family recipes, many from the three Nicks’ grandmother, which has proved a franchise winner.

Van Happen said some customers are surprised to find french fries in their pita sandwiches and say it's not really traditionally Greek. “That’s not it. It really actually is like that in Greece, you get a Euro pita and it’s got french fries in it.”


Some 41 years after it began in Minneapolis as ‘It's Greek to Me’ – and closed but reopened in 2020 when the coronavirus struck, the renamed restaurant, which added ‘E Parea’, has shut down permanently.

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