Savvas Greek Restaurant co-owner Lisa Savvas and her daughter, Sophia.

Savvas Greek Restaurant owner Lisa Savvas was born and raised in Illinois, but in the early 1980s, she was inspired by the movie “Urban Cowboy” to come visit Gilley’s nightclub in Pasadena. At the club, she met her future husband, Greek native Larry Savvas, who was in the Merchant Marines and living in Pasadena. She eventually moved to Texas and married Larry. 

The couple had three children and moved back to Greece. In 2001, they opened a successful restaurant.

“Larry was actually the mayor of our town in Greece, Nea Epivatie, for four years,” said Savvas. In 2010, their children wanted to come back to the U.S. to attend college. So, the Savvases leased their restaurant building in Greece and came back to Houston to open a new restaurant. 

In 2011, they opened Savvas Greek Restaurant.

“Larry actually had to go back to Greece before we opened the restaurant to finish his mayoral term. So I opened it up with my daughter’s help. It was pretty hectic,” said Savvas. 

The Savvas menu has more than 80 items, virtually all authentic and homemade in the restaurant.

“The only thing we really don’t make on site is the pita and the red velvet cake. We make all the other menu items, including the sauces, right here. Sometimes you may come in and see we are grilling eggplants. That’s to make our homemade melitzana. We have a creamy feta cheese that has peppers that I grow in my backyard, with seeds from Greece. We also make the baklava and other desserts here in the restaurant. You can take a look in our case and see that it looks homemade,” said Savvas. 

“People wait all week for our famous lamb shank, which we make on the weekends. We take a whole lamb shank and season it and sauté it in butter, then slow-cook it with spices and top it off with red wine and let it soak overnight. That way all the juices get into the bone. Larry takes care of all the meat for our souvlaki and other dishes. He hand picks the meat, then trims the fat off, cubes it, tenderizes it and marinates it in his secret recipe dressing for 24 hours. We also make our own kabobs. We grind the meat and add our special seasoning and herbs, then shape it into the kabobs. We do the same thing with the lamb burgers. Larry also makes the kontosouvli. He puts that in the oven and bakes it then shreds it up. We sauté the onions and he puts his herbs in it and rubs it down and stuffs it with garlic. The recipe is written down in Greek, and I’m the only other person who understands it,” said Savvas. 

Savvas Greek Restaurant is located at 6730 Atascocita Road. Savvas is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.