Leo’s Greek Castle, found at 2925 Kavanaugh Boulevard in Hillcrest, was my first introduction to Greek food. When I was in high school, there were precious few Mediterranean options in the Rock, so to Leo’s I’d trek every month or two for one of their generous gyros.
But, as an adult with different tastes and habits, I sometimes find I’ve neglected old favorites, and thus was the case with Leo’s. After nearly five years since my last visit, last week I revisited the popular location. So often, as places change owners and receive updates, the aesthetic changes, but not at Leo’s—in fact, I couldn’t tell any changes had been made, save some new tables.
Upon seating ourselves, we waited for our server to appear. And we waited some more. An employee stuck his head out from the kitchen at one point, saw us, and immediately returned to the kitchen. After several minutes, the server on duty entered the front door and immediately came to take our drink orders—beer, in this case, as Leo’s now serves alcohol.
From there, we ordered baba ganoush for an appetizer, while I selected a falafel sandwich for my main and my friend went with a gyro platter. The baba ganoush was fine, if a bit bland. The gyro platter comes with tomatoes, onions, thick tzatziki, fries, and a huge portion of gyro meat to eat alone or pile on the warm pita. I’ll say this: the gyro meat was better than average, nicely spiced and cooked with care, and this version of tzatziki sauce was a winner, gently flavored with mild notes of cucumber. The fries, however, were lackluster; despite their efforts to season them, they were unexciting.
My falafel was basic, but that’s what falafel is meant to be. The chickpea patties were fresh and the texture was ideal, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, and combined with the hummus, tomato, and cucumber on pita, made for a pleasant enough lunch experience.I’ve heard some good things about Leo’s breakfast. Instead of being particularly artful, it’s most often described as a straightforward meal similar to what many of us grew up with—omelets, biscuits and gravy, and pancakes. All that said, Leo’s is more American than Greek.
While both the gyro meat and falafel were tasty enough, they had to try hard to win my attention after the initially rough customer service. However, given their long history in Little Rock and my own sense of nostalgia when I’m presented with those coloring book lions at the register, I’m certain I’ll return.