Vasilis Express

When I first learned that there was another Greek restaurant coming to Elmwood Avenue I wondered how another could survive with all of the competition. It was just after Captain Jack’s closed its doors that Vasilis Express charged onto the scene. I soon learned that the operation was being headed up by Vasilis Panagopoulos, the former owner of Plate-Oh’s on Forest near Elmwood. After sitting down with Vasilis, I was happy to discover that the eatery was indeed offering up a formula that was not presently found in the neighborhood… even with Pano’s being situated right across the street.

One look at Vasilis’ menu and you will see a well thought-out business recipe geared towards attracting customers who are looking for quality food, at reasonable prices, in a shorter time frame. According to Vasilis, “There was a need for quick authentic Greek food. Not everybody wants to sit down to eat. I designed this so a limited few could eat in, but the majority of our customers walk right in, pick up their orders and walk right out. I’ve been in this business since 1983 (original location on Hertel) and in that time I have come to realize that by limiting the menu to fewer items that are still completely authentic, we can save on preparation time. I can also save on money because I don’t have to hire a wait staff. That means that the food is less expensive. At this point we are seeing a lot of college students walking in ordering the Mega Wraps and the Bagelicious Sandwiches. People also love the half pound burger with BBQ sauce, bacon and cheddar cheese for $4.50… it’s called The Smokey Mountain.”

Along with burgers (there’s a veggie burger too), wraps and bagel sandwiches (both staples of the Elmwoodian diet), Vasilis offers a daily fish fry, Texas Hots, moussaka, dolmades (grape leaves), avgolemono (Greek soup), traditional desserts, salads, souvlakis, sides and party trays. “You must try the roast pork Gyro,” Vasilis told me. “Inside you will find tzatziki, tomato, onion and French fries… nobody does that in Buffalo. And forget about the tortilla wraps. Instead we use 9″ wheat pita bread. We’ll be opening a patio in the spring and we’re keeping long hours – weekdays we’re open from 11am to 11pm and on weekends we’re open until 5am! Starting in the spring we’ll be open daily until 5am… if you call ahead and we tell you that your order will be ready in ten minutes, then it will be ready in ten minutes. If it’s not I’ll treat you to one of my desserts.”

I have a feeling that we’re going to see some great business generated in this eatery. Vasilis is onto something, and I’m happy to see another draw for the college students who tend to spend more time on campus eating at the cafes. I’ll be stopping in soon to try the dolmades… the ultimate gauge of a Greek restaurant’s authenticity. Until then Vasilis!

Vasilis Express
1066 Elmwood Avenue

www.VasilisExpress.com
716.886.GYRO (4976)

Vasilis-Greek-Buffalo-NY.jpg

About the author  ⁄ RaChaCha

24 comments
sumaiya1217
sumaiya1217

I know this is not about this new resturant but I would like to see more variety in Buffalo. People must be stuck in a rut. I want to see an Ethiopian resturant....among others.

donnybagadonuts
donnybagadonuts

I wonder if Capt Jack's demise had anything to do with the owner chain smoking on the patio while people were trying to eat...Yummy!

JFoy
JFoy

It's open until 4 or 5am... enough said. :)

4matic
4matic

You're right, he does an amazing job being a prick.

chetroia
chetroia

Dont forget the Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer!

jbeatty
jbeatty

Fried fish and french fries is not adventurous!

jbeatty
jbeatty

Except for Vino's, Cecelia's and Trattoria Aroma (although not technically on Elmwood). What I would love to see on Elmwood is a boutique wine store, cheese shop and bakery that specializes in breads. Good luck to Vasilis but take out Greek sounds like drunk food to me. Plenty of that here too!

Allentwnguy
Allentwnguy

Can't believe someone said Taylor Ham!!! Nothing like Taylor Ham and Egg on a good hard roll! I have one pound left in the freezer. I have to take a trip to NJ.

Dan
Dan

He does it well. Very well.

LI2Northpark
LI2Northpark

Pano may be a prick but his place is nice, the food's always good and it's always crowded. At least he's generating some consistent tax revenue for the city. I like it much better than Kosta's or any other Greek place in the city.

Dan
Dan

Don't forget the Towne, too.

In Buffalo, Greek in my mind will always equal "diner with cute waitresses in tight black pants and souvlaki". It would be great to have Cretan band-playing Zorba-dancing plate-smashing Greek in Buffalo, but I don't see it happening in my lifetime. The tradition of big menu diner Greek is too strong among Greek restauranteurs in the area.

I'll restate earlier rants: it would be nice to see more variety, something that's not just red-sauce Italian or diner Greek. I liked Captain Jack's, but unfortunately few others did. Maybe Buffalonians are less adventurous diners than their peers in other cities, sticking to what they've known for years.

chetroia
chetroia

I still have not seen any real Greek places in Buffalo. Most of these places in Buffalo are diners or lettuce in pita bread with hot sauce. Too bad they didn't sell Taylor Ham sandwiches! . I have eaten at some real Greek places when my sister lived in Astoria Queens Astoria has huge Greek community.

I have eaten take in and take out at Vasilis its ok nothing great. Place is on nasty looking Kenmore ave. I have eaten at Panos they have good selection on there menus I have always had great service there. I went to Kostas on Hertel just another diner to me.

jimmythesicilian
jimmythesicilian

oh man you nailed it. theres also to many chinese type places but no Italian places and everybody loves Italian

LouisTully
LouisTully

My friends live in the house next-door to the right. They confirm he is a huge prick.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Not to mention, isn't there already an abundance of Greek restaurants on Elmwood? Ok, so it's fast-food. You can call ahead and order at any of the numerous Greek places on Elmwood. Panos, Acropolis, Mythos, the place next to Nektar that eludes me, etc. Ambrosia, that's it.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Why doesn't plate-oh reopen plate-oh? Meanwhile it is sitting there looking like a dump from the east side.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Should have gone there more often. Maybe they'd still be in business.

They lost me as a customer last year during lent when they told me 45 minutes when I called ahead and I got there 45 minutes after ordering, and proceeded to wait an additional 30 mintues while walk-in orders received their food.

If it's going to be an hour and fifteen then tell me that. It doesn't take long to throw some fish and fries in a fryer.

buffaluv
buffaluv

I agree there are few options to get seafood to go/quickly and they had good food there.

whatever
whatever

From the looks of it most weekend evenings that I've seen it, if you ended your boycott and went to expanded Pano's tonight you'd find it crowded. And maybe you'd have to park somewhere other than their lot which often looks full.

Pano's lot should also help Vassilis too, by freeing up street spaces on that block and its side streets.

quesaisje2
quesaisje2

Still won`t go back to Pano`s because of what he did to the Atwater House.

distas
distas

I miss Captain Jack's!

osirisascending
osirisascending

I always thought Kostas on Hertel was okay. Not a big fan of Pano though... He kinda rubs me the wrong way.

4matic
4matic

why... why doesn't Buffalo have a good sit down Greek restaurant? I shouldn't have to schlep up to Danforth to get some decent stuff. And yes, Pano's is pig slop.

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