Karageorgos moved to the Cy-Fair area last fall, bringing his 45 years of restaurant experience with him. He took over ownership of Opa Greek Taverna on Jones Road in December, renaming it Yannis Greek Taverna. The eatery serves traditional Greek and Middle Eastern food—such as baba ghanoush, gyros and souvlaki—all made by Karageorgos himself.
“We’re still using their menu, but it’s my recipes and my cooking,” he said. “I think from the response, 95 percent of the people like it better.”
Karageorgos, who retired in 2016 before jumping back into the restaurant business, said he has owned restaurants in Galveston, Corpus Christi, Lake Jackson and La Porte.
“I retired in 2016, but Hurricane Harvey came and took my house and my truck and all of my possessions,” he said. “I had about 3 1/2 feet of water inside the house. I decided to go back to work. I had to. This place was available, and I always loved the challenge.”
Karageorgos said his specialty has always been Greek and Cajun food. He handles the bulk of the cooking and kitchen preparation at the eatery with the help of another cook, he said. He said he believes in quality over speed.
“When I came over here, there were quite a few things they would prepare in advance because they wanted to put the food out fast,” he said. “I’d rather let you wait an extra 10 minutes and cook it to order than have it cooked and waiting for you.”
Popular dishes include the freshly made hummus, the lamb shank—baked for more than 10 hours—and the classic gyro dish, which can be made with chicken and beef, among other options.
Although Karageorgos is new to the area, he said he is confident in his abilities and his food.
“I don’t want to say I’m different; I just want to be myself,” he said. “I don’t want to say I’m better than John, better than Jim, I want to be myself. I want to let my customers decide.”
13203 Jones Road, Houston
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.