Soon after we were seated at a large wooden table at the newly opened Jimmy the Greek’s in South Portland, my wife commented, “If I were a guy, I would make this my new watering hole.”
Her comment referenced the spirited atmosphere in the restaurant and bar, with its many beer choices, big-screen TVs, and happy hour and late-night food specials. It would be a great place to watch a football game, drink a beer or five and plow through a few platefuls of wings, burgers and pizzas.
Turns out, it’s a pretty good choice for the ladies too.
With one restaurant firmly established in Old Orchard Beach, Jimmy the Greek’s now occupies the former Sebago Brewing Co. location at the Maine Mall.
We stopped in on a Saturday afternoon after a busy morning of yard work — well, busy for one of us, anyway. My wife ordered a gyro, and I opted for a chicken Parmesan panini. Our friends ordered a Reuben panini and chicken and smoked gouda panini. All were $8.99, with a choice of fries, sweet potato fries or chips, although I asked for a garden salad instead of the fries.
We men also ordered cups of buffalo chicken soup ($3.99), a zesty, spicy concoction that cleared my sinuses and made the top of my head sweat.
Each of us proclaimed our sandwich the best of the bunch. My wife loved her gyro, a massive wrap of a sandwich stuffed with meat, tomatoes, onions, feta, lettuce and a cool sauce. There was so much meat, she removed some of it and ate it on the side. The small bite that I sampled confirmed her assessment: It was tender and succulent, and something I definitely would order on a return trip.
I liked my chicken Parmesan panini. I worried that it might be too much — I only ate half, but that was owing as much to the soup I had as an appetizer, as well as the salad that I asked for as a substitute for my fries. The chicken breast was nice and thick, and the grilled bread was substantial enough to not lose its form with all the marinara sauce and provolone that came with it. Very good.
The bite of Reuben that I tasted impressed me for its lack of fat, and the chicken and smoked gouda might have been the most interesting — in a good way — combination of tastes I’ve had in some time.
The menu is large. In addition to a lot of appetizers, salads and soups, Jimmy the Greek’s offers a full complement of brick-oven pizzas, calzones, grilled food such as burgers and steak tips, Italian entrees and full-fledged meals. It also offers a pizza buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.
Jimmy the Greek’s exceeded my hopes, and made me want to come again to try other dishes.
The Features staff of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.