Santorini Island Grill (Kalamazoo)
So…yup. I’m one of those guys that likes to work on my off days. Well, I don’t really like working, but I freelance every so often a job that I really love. I just can’t make a living doing it, so when opportunities come up on my days off, I like to take them.
I’ve been picking up a lot of extra work at Western Michigan University. At some point in the day, I usually end up with at least an hour for lunch. Last week, it actually turned in to a two hour lunch. I didn’t really have much I needed to do and I wanted to run by the Bookstore to look at t-shirts, so I made my way to the Bernhard Center to pick up dinner.
The Bernhard Center is home to the Bronco Mall which is a small food court located on the bottom level of the building. You can access it from the main entrance by going down, but there’s also an access road that leads to visitor parking behind the Bernhard Center with another entrance. I found meter parking in the circle drive near the access road, so I made my way in to the building that way.
There’s only four dining options in the Bronco Mall. There’s a Subway, a Biggby, Fresh Coast Tacos, and Santorini Island Grill. I ate and blogged about Fresh Coast Tacos late last year, so it was time I gave the Greek place a shot.
Santorini Island Grill takes up counter space right next to Fresh Coast Tacos. It appears they share a kitchen and they have access to each others front of the house spaces as well. The restaurant opened in 2012 after Taco Bell and Pizza Hut moved out of the Bernhard Center. Santorini actually replaces Western Scoops which was thrown together to fill the space after Taco Bell left.
This part of the Bronco Mall is kind of set up like a shopping mall food court. You order at a counter then wait for your food. There are a couple of areas with tables and chairs to eat at as well as spaces to do homework and meet up with groups.
Santorini is not unique to Kalamazoo. In fact, there are three other locations. All of them are in California. Two are on college campuses with the third in a shopping center.
The menu at Santorini is pretty common Greek food. The bulk of the menu is pitas, but they have other Greek specialities as well as burrito and bowl options for their creations.
Greek food is not always my favorite. I actually really dislike tzatziki which is a staple in Greek sandwiches, so I have to pay close attention to what I’m ordering. While that is an option with some of the more traditional pitas at Santorini, they also have some spins on the pita for people more like myself.
I ordered The New California which is one of their specialty pitas. It comes with pulled chicken, fries, bacon, cheddar cheese, guacamole, and salsa fresca. I’m not a huge guac fan, so I for that to be left of entirely. The salsa fresca was a little onion heavy. When I unwrapped the pita, I could smell onions…which is also something I really dislike. I can enjoy them in small quantities, but there were a lot there, so I scrapped some of the salsa off. After that was done, this pita was actually incredibly delicious. The bread was super soft and the chicken was moist and tender. The whole thing was a Greek spin on a chicken sandwich and it worked really well. The fries in the pita sounded fun to me but I was a little hesitant how they would hold up. There were only three fries in the bread and they did get a little soggy, but they added a lot of flavor from the “Island” seasoning salt that was on them.
I also added on an order of Island Fries and a bottle of Pepsi to round out my meal. I got the large order of fries which came in a tinfoil container all by themselves. They were a little limp, but again, had a lot of flavor from the “Island” seasoning. I can’t really peg what it’s in. Likely paprika and garlic salt among other things, but it did give the fries a pretty unique flavor.
The cost of my meal was a little over $12. I mentioned at the beginning of this post and I have to say again, Greek food really isn’t my cup of tea. This, however, was a really tasty pita mostly because it didn’t contain any of the typical Greek ingredients. I liked this take on a chicken sandwich and I would eat it again. If you like Greek food, Santorini Island Grill will probably be something you would enjoy. The location in the Bernhard Center does make it hard for those outside of Western Students to find and get to, but if you’re in the building or in the area for some reason, this is a place you might not want to pass up.