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My initial expectations for Little Greek, a chain new to Little Rock in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center, weren’t all that high. When the place sent me an email a couple of weeks ago inviting me to a “blogger event,” I barely skimmed it before hitting “delete,” the bribe of free food not enough to drag me away from my favorite Mediterranean joint, Layla’s.

Fast-forward to last night, and the wife and I are trying to think of somewhere to eat, and she suggested Little Greek. Since it was a Monday that found me unwilling to cook yet quite hungry, I didn’t argue. Monday is a great night to eat at Little Greek — $5 gyros and chicken pita specials along with $3 appetizers make the place a steal. Even better, the food and service were top notch.

We started with hummus and an order of falafel, and while the falafel was nothing special (although not bad), the hummus was quite tasty, with a nice balance of citrus, cumin, and nutty tahini that is as good as almost any hummus in town. Little Greek offers a choice of grilled or fried pita with the hummus; we tried both, and delighted in the different textures — soft and warm for the grilled version, slightly crisp and chewy for the fried. Either choice is good.

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The folks behind the counter had offered us a sample of the gyro meat when we entered, and given the $5 special, I ordered one with fries (which are an extra $1.99). The gyro was huge, full of tender, flavorful meat and piled high with tzatziki, lettuce, and tomato. It wasn’t quite as good as Layla’s, but close enough that I was pretty happy with the plate. The shoestring fries were piled high and deep, and while they could have been a little crisper, the portion more than justified the add-on price tag.

Jess ordered the chicken skewer platter, which at $11.99 is one of the most expensive only $8.99 makes it a mid-range thing on the menu as far as cost. For that price, she got two tasty skewers of tender grilled chicken over a bed of saffron rice, some pita and tzatziki, and a huge mixed salad topped with feta cheese, and a scoop of potato salad. This huge plate was surprising — and it tasted good, too. In fact, the chicken at Little Greek was actually better than Layla’s chicken, which we always find to be way too dry.

All told, we got a heap of food for not a lot of money, and it was served up fresh and quick. The folks working were friendly and ready to hand out samples of the menu, something that’s nice for a new place to do. I don’t know that Little Greek will ever replace Layla’s, Leo’s, or Ali Baba as my go-to spot for gyros, but it’s certainly going to become a stop for me when I’m in the Highway 10 area and get hungry.

Little Greek is located in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center in the former location of Cheeburger Cheeburger.