I love how I was complaining in my annual rant, the bore, just a few weeks ago about the lack of a decent souvlaki place in this town. Well, well, well, what have we here? A new concept called SOUVLA from Charles Bililies, which is going to make its debut in San Francisco! The “souvla” is literally the rotisserie rod/roasting spit—and will be playing a major part in this modern take on a souvlaki/gyro joint. Bililies explains Souvla is going to have a Bay Area approach to ingredients, and mark the end of “the mystery cone meat and out-of-season tomatoes—the gyro hasn’t changed in America since the 1970s!”
For about $9, you’ll be able to have pieces of spit-roasted “lamb porchetta”—which is lamb loin wrapped in lamb belly—plus spiced yogurt, salad, Greek cheese, and a variety of sauces to choose from, all tucked into a pita. There will also be some other larger cuts of meat available, from goat to chicken to pork—just depends what’s on the spit that day (larger entrées are also possible). There will be a vegetarian option with roasted vegetables as well. Sides will include a few dishes like roasted potatoes and a dessert or two.
The restaurant will be fast casual (you order at the counter and take a seat or get it to go), but there will also be some tap-based beers and wines (Greek and domestic) that you can have by the glass or carafe. Bililies explains it’s going to be a bit like a Greek taqueria, serving lunch, dinner, and late into the night. And no white walls and blue accents here—Souvla is going to be a modern adaptation of a Greek concept, not a direct facsimile of something you’d find in Crete.
Bililies, a Greek American, has quite the impressive background: an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales, a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, then culinary assistant at The French Laundry, followed by a position as manager of Bouchon. He then moved to the Michael Mina Group, working for Michael Mina restaurant and eventually as operations manager for RN74.
Now, here’s the catch: Souvla is still seeking investors and a first location. The concept is intended to be scalable, with locations throughout the Bay Area (I’m sure we’d all like that). Interested in getting on board? Check out the site for more information, and I’ll of course keep you posted on how this is taking shape! Color me excited.
Photo from Souvla.