Nestled in the heart of Hillcrest, there’s a small and vibrant restaurant with a blue door. The eatery’s history dates all the way back to the 1950s, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the immediate area. But boy, it’s changed over the years! What started out as a classic American diner morphed into a diner with Meditteranean influences named ‘House of Gyros’ in the 70s. Now, it’s a restaurant that is a melting pot of American and Greek flavors.
For the past 7 years, the restaurant has been called Leo’s Greek Castle, and has become a lunching and brunching hotspot for locals. Tad and Frank, a truly dynamic duo, own Leo’s Greek Castle, and they had a vision for the place. Their goal wasn’t to change that much. In fact, their goal was to stay true to the previous owner’s vision.
The restaurant is, much like many establishments in Little Rock, a community builder. Both Tad and Frank remember hanging out at the restaurant in high school; it was a spot to (parents, look away) skip school and eat great food. Years later, after gaining some valuable experience in the hospitality industry, they both sat on the porch of the restaurant, wondering if the then-owner was willing to sell. And he was! The community was thrilled that their beloved eatery wasn’t going to be torn down – just updated a little.
And with that, they embarked on their journey; introducing alcohol to the restaurant, changing up menu items, and offering the cheapest beers in Little Rock. The 75-cent PBRs are quite a crowd pleaser!
The menu veered towards American cuisine, with flairs of Greek cuisine, like falafel, gyros platters, and babaganoush (an eggplant based dip). Both Tad and Frank were adamant, though, that the main event was their award-winning burger – a recipe that was loosely based on one that Frank’s parents created. It’s been featured in national publications, including Garden & Gun Magazine.
Of course, brunchers love the extensive menu of breakfast staples; pancakes, sausage, eggs, hash browns, and bacon are all popular orders with their weekend crowd.
This small restaurant has got charm and heart, and it’s what keeps patrons frequenting. The space is often packed to the brim with lunch regulars and not hard to see why! When Tad and Frank opened the restaurant on April Fool’s Day 2013, they had already hired top-notch staff and put an emphasis on hiring people who were nice to each other and nice to the customers. This is part of their core values, and this is a huge part (along with the delicious food) that makes this restaurant a Little Rock favorite.