Mahmoud Nouri, a co-owner and store manager, said he has been running the business’s Brodie Lane location since 2005. His brother, Jeff, oversees the restaurant’s four locations north of the Colorado River.
In 1997, Mahmoud left his home country of Iran and came to live with Jeff while Jeff was attending The University of Texas. Mahmoud, who went to school for interior design, came to Austin looking for a job. Because of the language barrier, he said communicating with employers was difficult.
Mahmoud then found himself helping at his brother’s downtown Austin Italian eatery, Al Capone’s Restaurant, which closed in 2008 after an influx of franchise businesses hurt the local business community, he said. About five years before, Jeff opened the first Tinos Greek Cafe at Hwy. 183 and Anderson Mill Road and was looking to open other locations.
Growing up tasting various homemade dishes in Iran, Mahmoud said the restaurant business came naturally to him.
“I was the guinea pig at home [in Iran] tasting rice and teas and all sorts of food,” he said. “Here I taste everything and add what is necessary for flavor.”
The food at Tinos is made fresh daily and served in a cafeteria-style setting, Mahmoud said. Greek dishes, including large portions of meats served alone or in a wrap with classic Greek sides such as hummus and steamed vegetables, are found throughout the menu.
“At a traditional Greek family meal, they will have a table filled with dozens of different dishes, and everyone eats and grabs what they want,” Mahmoud said. “That’s kind of what we are trying to do here. Our customers can look and order what they want based on what they see.”
With only one location in South Austin, Mahmoud said he and his brother hope to expand the business farther south and into San Marcos and San Antonio.
Greek food 101
What is gyro?
A traditional Greek dish made with lamb and beef cooked rotisserie-style and usually served with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and onions and sprinkled with paprika; can be wrapped in pita bread or served on its own
What is a falafel?
A Middle Eastern-style deep-fried patty made from ground chickpeas and seasoned potatoes, falafels can be found wrapped in pita bread and served with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers or served as a side
What is tzatziki?
A Greek-style cucumber sauce that is traditionally served on top of grilled meats or used as a dip, tzatziki is made of yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes with vinegar or lemon
Tinos Greek Cafe
9901 Brodie Lane, Austin
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.,
Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.