The Greek Shall Inherit the Earth

Lunch with The Greek Guy, 20th and Market, sometimes, but not really on any kind of schedule

Today, Fran popped by my cube to see if I’d  like to join him and Serge for a refreshing stroll through Rittenhouse Square on our way to The Greek Guy’s truck on 20th and Market. “You don’t have any plans later, do you?” “Why?” “Because you’ll stink. This guy uses so much garlic- my wife always knows when I went to The Greek Guy for lunch. You sweat garlic for days.” Hmmm, this sounds promising. I like garlic. “I’m in!”

They weren’t kidding. The Greek Guy’s truck is like a shrine to garlic, like a vampire proof steel shelter.

Watch out Edward.

Rows of garlic on the counters, garlic hanging above the potted plants, garlic tucked in the crevices—and a chef so single minded—“Do not talk to him. Just smile and give him money.” What? “He’s like the Soup Nazi. He’ll start in on high quality, this and that.” We wait nearly a half hour, chatting about iPhone Scrabble and fantasy football, and then, our turn comes. There is no ordering. You stand, patiently, in awe, as The Greek Guy wields a twelve-inch pair of tongs as gently as a paintbrush, and, like an artiste, grabs a scoop of lettuce, a sprinkling of grapes, some rosemary—a little more rosemary—orzo, several falafels, placed just so, and a heavy shower of smoky chicken. A pita. He instructs you to do something with the pita. I nod and give him money. Oh no. He launches into a tirade about the high quality ingredients, like you can’t get anywhere else, not even for a million dollars, not in a restaurant—oh god, now I’ve done it—not anywhere, except here. High quality, whether you appreciate it or not, is quality, he rants, as he gives me change and a mini loaf of stale sourdough with his masterpiece. Serge and Fran pick up their boxes and we head back to the cafeteria.

El Greco's Masterpiece

This is the masterpiece. It was  glorious. Fresh grapes! The chicken was hot from the garlic, but the flavor wasn’t overpowering, and the falafel, though a little overcooked, was the spiciest I have had, and was pleasantly heavy on the cilantro. As for reeking of garlic—I can’t smell it, but I definitely stink like The Greek Guy’s charcoal smoke. Mmm.


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