Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Feast on Greek - it's no longer just an annual thing

Takeout Food

By Mary Sanker
Enquirer contributor

Panegyri Greek Festival, the fantastic weekend of feasting and fellowship hosted by Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Finneytown every June, is a high point in the food festival circuit. But it only comes once a year (this year, the festival is June 27-29) and if you find yourself yearning for baklava and other eastern Mediterranean delicacies, here are two spots to tide you over.

Athena International Food and Grocery and Mediterranean Foods are within two miles of each other, flanking the Greek church on Winton Road in Finneytown.

At both, you can order a gyro and freshly made hummus and dolma, the tasty tidbits of rice wrapped in grape leaves. The stores each feature baklava and other pastries as well as salads and falafel sandwiches.

The stores differ in their approach to food service, though. Mediterranean Foods is a restaurant that dabbles in groceries; Athena is just about the opposite.

Mediterranean Foods, an offshoot of a Clifton-based enterprise, has tables and chairs and much smaller grocery stock but a larger selection of food to go - including pizza.

Both offer fresh-tasting, well-prepared foods, but I prefer Mediterranean's gyro sandwich ($3.75). On the other hand, I like Athena's falafel sandwich ($3.25) better.

A tip: Athena sells large pans of frozen moussaka ($23.99) and pastitsio ($19.99) for baking at home.

• Athena International Food & Grocery, 8548 Winton Road, Finneytown; 729-0440; 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-3 p.m. Sunday.

• Mediterranean Foods, 6045 Winton Road, Finneytown; 681-8060; and 314 Ludlow Ave., Clifton; 961-6060; 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

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