Munch goes to BFG (Big Fat Greek) Cafe
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Sure, Munch is a little bummed that summer is coming to an end. But don't worry. Here's a couple of reasons to rejoice: no more watching our suicidal baseball franchise tease us with lofty dreams of .500+ seasons, no more sunburns, no more suffocatingly hot days with accompanying torturous weather stories and no more watching the caloric intake for bathing suit season.
Enter: Big Fat Greek Cafe, which serves dishes in big fat portions but sans the big fat bill. Munch has noticed this quirky facade before on Penn Avenue in Friendship. Adorned with a hand-painted sign done in an art deco-ish style, the cafe piqued Munch's curiosity. The place opened in October, the owner told us, but after renovations he ran out of money to advertise. So he's still trying to get the word out, he said.
But when Enthusiastic Eater Friend of Munch and Vegetarian Friend of Munch came with Munch to lunch one day, the vast (and slightly dusty) dining room was empty. After ordering our food at the counter, we had to search a bit to find a clean table. We chose one next to the painting of the ferocious tiger, just one piece of the somewhat inexplicable decor, which just reminded us of how hungry we were. (Another portrait of a man -- we guessed Jim Morrison -- sat on the floor of the dining room.)
Our waiter kindly left us an industrial-size jug of water, along with foam cups and then our meal started in reverse, the way you'd always hope it would as a kid: dessert first. The baklava ($2.50) was slightly soggy and the cheesecake ($2.50) topped with strawberry sauce was nothing to write home about, but for $5 for both, it was a steal.
Next came the monstrous Greek salad ($6.50), a (very small) bed of iceberg lettuce topped with feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, chunks of gyro meat and -- in a nod to Pittsburgh -- french fries and melted cheese. For a place that specializes in pizzas and subs, it was a fine effort. The ingredients were quite fresh, the iceberg lettuce crispy in all its nutrition-less glory, the cucumbers crunchy. EEFOM and VFOM bypassed the fresh vegetables and went straight for the greasy fries.
Next up were the entrees. Munch went big and got the small Buffalo chicken pizza ($9). Sure, it was labeled "small," but it was a full foot long in diameter. In lieu of tomato sauce, the perfectly crisp dough was slathered with buffalo sauce, then topped with a melange of melty cheese, tender chunks of chicken, mushrooms and green peppers. EEFOM and VFOM both ordered hoagies. Both came on fluffy baguettes. EEFOM's meatball with cheese hoagie ($4.50) was a hefty and meatalicious. VFOM's, perhaps dismayed by the dusty tables, said she was pleasantly surprised by the eggplant parmesan sandwich ($4.50), a thick slice of eggplant breaded, deep fried and slathered in tomato sauce. "Not too greasy," she commented.
Our midday calorie-fest totaled around $31 without tip -- quite a steal. Eating at the BFG Cafe might end up being one of Munch's fall favorite activities, along with sipping pumpkin spice lattes and setting couches aflame in Oakland.
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First Published September 8, 2011 12:00 am