First Look: Karv Kitchen in Chamblee inspired by Greek Easter feast

Selections from Karv Kitchen include (top row, from left) Half Rotisserie Chicken, Horta Wrap, Greko Wrap, (bottom row, from left) Corn Avocado Salad, Braised Collard Bowl, and Veggie Collard Bowl. Mia Yakel for The AJC
Selections from Karv Kitchen include (top row, from left) Half Rotisserie Chicken, Horta Wrap, Greko Wrap, (bottom row, from left) Corn Avocado Salad, Braised Collard Bowl, and Veggie Collard Bowl. Mia Yakel for The AJC

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Karv Kitchen, the new “Mediterranean chef-inspired fast-casual” restaurant from Sandy Papadopoulos of Athens Pizza and former Eclipse di Luna chef Shan Holler, opened last week in Chamblee.

The Greek-influenced menu features marinated rotisserie chicken thighs souvla, marinated rotisserie pork blade roast souvla, braised pulled lamb shank, and braised beef short rib.

All four proteins can be ordered in a variety of ways, including wraps with pita imported from Greece, or bowls with fries, herb roasted potatoes or herb rice, all with a choice of one side. In addition, there are two salads, and Greek-style egg and lemon-chicken soup.

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Karv Kitchen Greko wrap with pork souvla, tangy mustard, tomato, spicy tzatziki, pickled red onion, and radish, served with KRAV fries. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Karv Kitchen Greko wrap with pork souvla, tangy mustard, tomato, spicy tzatziki, pickled red onion, and radish, served with KRAV fries. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Larger meals, dubbed “The Mains,” range from lamb chops and a half rotisserie chicken to a braised collard bowl with lamb or beef, and a veggie collard bowl with eggplant stew. Family meals come with two sides and one sauce.

There’s a separate counter for ordering Jittery Joe’s coffee drinks, “Loukoubombs” Greek-style doughnuts and Yom ice cream. And look for beer and wine coming soon.

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Karv Kitchen Frappe with Jittery Joe's coffee. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Karv Kitchen Frappe with Jittery Joe's coffee. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Last week, Papadopoulos sat down at a table on the patio at Karv to talk about how the concept and the menu were conceived.

The inspiration was the annual Greek Easter celebration Papadopoulos put on, with as many as 200 people in attendance, he said. But beyond the Greek dishes his friends and family loved, Papadopoulos wanted to introduce some Mediterranean flavor and flair.

“I put the menu together and started trying to create the concept about six years ago,” he said. “It’s difficult to try to get it right. I wanted to make sure I got to do it the way I wanted to do it. My mother passed away in between, so that didn’t help. But this has been something that evolved from Greek Easter, and celebrating flavor and family, which is our tagline.”

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Karv Kitchen Half Rotisserie Chicken with chimichurri sauce. Mia Yakel for The AJC
Karv Kitchen Half Rotisserie Chicken with chimichurri sauce. Mia Yakel for The AJC

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

In fact, “Celebrate Flavor & Family” is displayed in bright neon above the open kitchen at Karv. The colorful and inviting restaurant space was designed by Papadopoulos’ wife, Niki, who is a partner in Mark Williams Design in Atlanta.

“There were three things I wanted to make sure of,” Papadopoulos said. “The quality of the food was extremely important, of course. Scalability was extremely important, because I wanted to make sure we could open up another one at some point. And the third thing was I wanted to make sure that the cooking apparatus was unique for us.”

To that end, Papadopoulos said he shied away from the kind of vertical rotisseries most often associated with gyros and “the typical Greek place.” Instead, Karv has a professional gas-fired Brazilian rotisserie grill that contains a water bath under the cooking area. The result is meat that is both uniformly seared and moist.

But for Papadopoulos, the Greek pita is of upmost importance, too. “The pita bread from Greece is a game-changer for us,” he said. “It’s not like anything you’ll ever have in the United States. And if you taste it, you’ll understand why.”

Karv Kitchen owner Sandy Papadopoulos and chef Shan Holler. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Karv Kitchen owner Sandy Papadopoulos and chef Shan Holler. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Another key to the concept was partnering with Holler, whose background in fine dining and familiarity with Mediterranean cuisine helped with recipe development.

“I really fell in love with Eclipse di Luna, because I came from fine dining and French cooking, with demi-glace and heavy cream sauce, but Spanish food was something I really liked to eat,” Holler said. “I cooked that food for 10 years, and I think that’s why the transition from that to partnering with Sandy kind of made sense.”

“This is my baby that Shan helped me create,” Papadopoulos said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. He was a godsend. I don’t want to get emotional about it, but this is my dream come true. It’s something that’s very passionate for me.”

Karv Kitchen Corn Avocado Salad with tomato, cucumber, roasted corn, sliced avocado, kefalotyri cheese, and roasted Hungarian pepper. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Karv Kitchen Corn Avocado Salad with tomato, cucumber, roasted corn, sliced avocado, kefalotyri cheese, and roasted Hungarian pepper. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

DINING OUT

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.

Pita wraps and bowls, $10.95; soups and salads, $9.95-$10.95; mains, $14.95-$29.95; family meals, $25.95-$84.95; sides, $3.25-$5.95; sauces and spreads, $0.95-$4.50; Loukoubombs, $6-$16; coffees, $2.25-$4.75; ice cream, $2.50-$8.95.

Dine in with social distancing; patio; takeout; staff required to wear masks and gloves at all times; customers encouraged to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

5126 Peachtree Blvd., Building A, Chamblee. karvkitchen.com

Loukoubombs are part of the dessert offerings at Karv. (Courtesy of Karv)
Loukoubombs are part of the dessert offerings at Karv. (Courtesy of Karv)

Credit: Karv Kitchen

Credit: Karv Kitchen

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