Bakkhus Taverna: Kemah restaurant serves 'Texas-Greek' flavor fusions

The flaming saganaki is lit up tableside for diners, and served with baked or fried pita. Gyro meat, chicken, shrimp and vegetables can also be added; the dish starts at $16. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
The flaming saganaki is lit up tableside for diners, and served with baked or fried pita. Gyro meat, chicken, shrimp and vegetables can also be added; the dish starts at $16. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)

The flaming saganaki is lit up tableside for diners, and served with baked or fried pita. Gyro meat, chicken, shrimp and vegetables can also be added; the dish starts at $16. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)

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The lamb shank ($22) is braised in Greek herbs and spices and comes with beef orzo pasta and fresh bread. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The $12 burger is marinated in red wine and topped with feta cheese, Greek spices, sauteed onions and mushrooms. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Demetrios Kouloumoundras (left) opened Bakkhus with Zach Buster as co-manager in 2008; Buster has since attended culinary school. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Within weeks of opening Bakkhus Taverna’s doors, owner Demetrios Kouloumoundras and his staff went from running a new restaurant to helping feed the Kemah Community during a major storm.

The eatery opened at 605 Sixth St. in the summer of 2008, a month before Hurricane Ike. Operations Manager and chef Zach Buster had the idea to bring the grills out onto the patio and make food to give away, starting the day after the hurricane struck.

Recalling that “make-or-break moment” some dozen years later with Kouloumoundras, Buster said the restaurant’s regular customers have since become like family. He looks forward to re-envisioning the space and menu offerings to provide what Kouloumoundras calls a “Texas-Greek” fusion.

“We’re excited to breathe new life into it,” Buster said.

Customers can choose from saganaki, lamb shanks, seafood dishes and other Greek classics. Kouloumoundras said customers speculate over the secret ingredients in the popular fire feta dip, and he encouraged diners not to skip the burgers.


“The core of the menu is all family, all traditional,” he said. “I wanted to mix the Greek food with the Texas flavors.”

The restaurant is decorated with photos of Kouloumoundras’ relatives, many taken in Greece, where his father was born, and his family also helped paint the designs on the walls. The space will soon undergo remodeling in the form of seating updates inside and out, Kouloumoundras said.

The Bakkhus staff members got creative with their service during COVID-19, bringing takeout orders to cars on roller skates while customers played music, Kouloumoundras said. He and Buster credit the staff with helping Bakkhus succeed.

“We’ve been doing better than we could ask for,” Buster said.
By Colleen Ferguson

Reporter, Bay Area

A native central New Yorker, Colleen worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact Newspaper before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. She covers public education, higher education, business and development news in southeast Houston. Colleen graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she worked for the university's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange. Her degrees are in journalism and Spanish language and culture. When not chasing a story, Colleen can be found petting cats and dogs, listening to podcasts, swimming or watching true crime documentaries.


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