WHILE Bobby Laskaris is the owner of Kouzina Greek Street Food (Royal Oak, MI), he gives all the credit for the amazing cuisine to his 75-year-old father, Chef Panagiotis Laskaris. Retired for nearly a decade from various restaurants in Greektown, where he worked during the neighborhood’s golden age, the elder Laskaris returned to the kitchen in October 2012 to help Bobby in what has become a very popular place for Greek cuisine.
“We just celebrated our first anniversary and it has been amazing,” Bobby says. “Our idea was to keep it simple, keep it fresh. That’s what people like.”
Winning the Best Entrée Award at Arts, Beats & Eats even before it opened last year helped raise the level of excitement for Kouzina’s grand opening, and critics have been kind to this unique establishment. Kouzina is a place where art, food, and a neighborhood atmosphere unite. The food is fast, the staff is friendly, and there isn’t a microwave or freezer in sight. “Everything is about simplicity and freshness. We have a deep passion for our food,” Bobby adds.
Each day, a chef ’s special is prepared by Panagiotis, who draws on his years of expertise in creating unique entrees. The menu consists of a variety of gyros (traditional pork, lamb and beef, chicken), gyros bowls, and Greek salads. Kouzina makes its own fresh pitas in three varieties: traditional white, multigrain, and glutenfree. Brown rice and gluten-free soups are also available, as are fresh-cut fries topped with feta cheese and oregano straight from Greece for those seeking a revolutionary flavor.
While Panagiotis honed his craft in the bustling years of Greektown, Bobby knows all about simplicity and street food. For years, he sold gyros at major events including the Montreux
Detroit jazz festivals; the Comerica TasteFest; Arts, Beats & Eats; and the Grand Prix. From there, his business grew and he began doing business in larger venues including Ford Field, the Silverdome, and Cobo Hall. Today, he has customers from all over the Detroit area coming to Kouzina for authentic Greek fast food. “The best moment I’ve had opening this restaurant was working right next to the chef, my father,” Bobby says.