Native son to open The Simple Greek in East Providence

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Opening a restaurant was something attorney Tony DeSisto wanted to do. A Rhode Island native and alum of Portsmouth Abbey, he realized his dream six weeks ago when he opened The Simple Greek in Carrollwood, Florida, near where he lives.

In coming weeks, he’ll realized his next dream, to open a restaurant in Rhode Island. With help from his cousin Michael Stys, they are building The Simple Greek on Route 6 in East Providence and expect to open mid-April. The staff is training to run the 1,500-square-foot restaurant.

The Simple Greek is a fast casual restaurant with counter service that serves Greek food and features flavors from the Mediterranean region. Think gyros, stuffed grape leaves or dolmades, spanakopita spinach pie, tiropita cheese pie, grilled, seasoned meats, Greek yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, garbanzo beans and hummus, lentil soup, salads and desserts of baklava, baklava cheesecake and rizogalo rice pudding.

With an open kitchen, the restaurant will have a build-your-own assembly-line-style setup. Each bowl, pita or yogurt is made in front of the customer who can choose from a variety of fresh and homemade proteins, toppings and sauces. Bowls start with lentils, rice or salad. For traditional gyro, a cook will cut the meat off the spit to order and toss hand-stretched pitas, white or whole wheat, on the grill to warm up.

Sides include fresh-cut Greek fries that can be topped with imported Feta cheese, red wine vinegar, oregano and garlic salts.

You can also build your own Greek yogurt creation with a variety of sweet and savory options.

“I fell in love with the food,” said DeSisto whose roots are Italian-American, not Greek. “It’s really healthy.” Many of the ingredients, such as the sauces, are made in-house.

“All ingredients will be sourced locally,” he said.

Pita sandwiches are priced at $7.95 and bowls are $7.95 or $9.95. There will not be liquor on the menu when they open.

DeSisto expects a lot of takeout orders.

There is plenty of seating within the restaurant which has a clean and simple industrial design with fun Greek touches.

There will be a local manager, and Stys will oversee the restaurant. DeSisto said in the summer, he returns often to Rhode Island, with his wife, Barrington native Courtney, whose maiden name was Hardiman.

The franchise was founded by a Pennsylvania couple under a different name in 2004. They later partnered with “The Profit” CNBC host Marcus Lemonis to rebrand and grow the franchise as The Simple Greek.

The East Providence restaurant is at 73 Highland Ave., near the new IHOP.

Article sourced from: http://www.providencejournal.com/entertainmentlife/20170328/native-son-to-open-simple-greek-in-east-providence