The 900-square-foot Pappa Gyros restaurant may be small, but it has cultivated a large following from Katy-area residents.
After being named the No. 12 best place to eat in the U.S. by Yelp in 2019, the restaurant—which only has seating for 17—served more than 1,000 hungry customers in one day, said George Batsios, who owns and operates the eatery—which also has a drive-thru—with his son, Chris Batsios.
The duo attributes the eatery’s popularity to its warm, welcoming atmosphere and its fresh, made-to-order dishes created from family recipes.
George and Chris opened Pappa Gyros in July 2017 at 23255 Kingsland Blvd. next door to a gas station. They had bought—and still own— Sapore Ristorante Italiano at 6734 Westheimer Lakes North Drive two years before and realized Katy was missing Greek cuisine.
“We wanted to bring some authentic Greek food to Katy along with American fare,” Chris, who is a trained chef, said.
The menu includes Greek staples such as gyros and souvlaki. Chris added Italian beef and hot dogs, including the Detroit Coney Island hot dog, which includes an all-meat chili made with special Greek spices, he said.
The gyro meat is a family recipe of blended lamb with herbs and spices, Chris said. The meat is thinly shaved for texture, placed onto a hand-stretched pita and topped with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce, which is a recipe from Chris’ grandmother.
Other recipes have also been passed down through the generations. George said these recipes were rarely transcribed; they learned by watching and tasting.
George said his family hails from Psarades, a fishing village in northern Greece. He, his parents and two brothers immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1960s and began working in family restaurants in Detroit.
Pappa Gyros remains a family affair. “The flavors, the aromas, the freshness,” Chris said. “That’s what we’re trying to bring to our restaurant—what [our mothers and grandmothers]would have cooked.”
23255 Kingsland Blvd., Katy
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Sun.