When Mo Kosari bought Plaka Greek Cafe in 2016 from his friend, George Betondo, who was ready to retire at age 78, the ownership change came with several conditions.
It was important to Betondo that Plaka stay well kept after he retired, Betondo said.
“I love the restaurant, and especially the people. I have so many friends here,” Betondo said.
First, Kosari would have to keep the staff, some of whom had worked at the restaurant since Betondo opened Plaka in 2008 near the intersection of I-35 and Williams Drive in Georgetown.
Second, Kosari would need to keep using high quality ingredients to prepare food on the restaurant’s menu.
The two men met years ago through visiting each other’s restaurants. Kosari previously owned pizza parlors and Persian restaurants such as Alborz Persian Cuisine, and Betondo opened several other Greek places in Round Rock and Austin before Plaka.
Plaka was an instant hit in Georgetown, Betondo said, because there was nothing like it before it opened. The taste of Greek food was unique compared to other restaurants in town, and it is often healthier than other options, as the dishes are very rarely fried and many consist of fresh vegetables. The restaurant offers multiple vegetarian options, such as vegetarian dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with rice and spices served with tzatziki.
Plaka’s recipes are authentic thanks to Betondo, who was born in Greece. Plaka serves traditional Greek food, including lamb shanks and gyro wraps, as well as homemade desserts such as baklava and koulourakia, a butter and vanilla pastry.
“People love this food, and there’s no reason to change it,” Kosari said. “It keeps people coming back.”
The most popular dish at Plaka is the chicken salad, owner Mo Kosari said. The chicken is marinated in spices for 24 hours, then slow cooked on a vertical rotisserie. After it is cooked, the chicken is shredded and put into a salad with tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, kalamata olives and mixed lettuce, along with a tzatziki, a Greek yogurt sauce.
115 N. I-35, Georgetown
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Sunday