Greek restaurant brings flavor to Mountain Island

By Molly Reitter

Mr. Geero at first glance looks like a dive gyro place on a college campus. The smell of spicy lamb and deep fried deliciousness permeates the air and you can almost see the 2 a.m. line of hungry college kids snaking out the door.

While Mr. Geero has all kinds of gyros on the menu, the Philly cheesesteak is the restaurant’s most popular plate. (Molly Reitter/Monitor photo)

Except that this place is not in a college area and is way too clean to serve a college crowd. And the food here is not meant to serve an undiscerning palate of a young person who will eat anything with enough catsup on it.

Yes, it is inexpensive with big portions, but it is also tasty and unique.

Mr. Geero co-founder Bernard Dede was born in Berlin. At 11 years old, he moved back to his parent’s homeland of Turkey. There he received his bachelors of arts degree in tourism and management. His parents loved to cook – mostly Turkish and Greek food – and he came to love it as well.

At 25, he came to the U.S.  to visit family. An opportunity opened up and he never went home. Now he is married with three boys, including seven-month-old twins, and lives in Coulwood.

Dede opened the first Mr. Geero restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, in 2002, but he sold it when he took a job with Bank of America in Charlotte. After that job ended, he realized that he wanted to again pursue his passion of owning a restaurant.

He wanted to work close to his family and create a good restaurant that could serve locals. The site he chose, across from Bi-Lo, had been vacant for about six years. Dede and his partner, Yunus Inan, revitalized the space and created a Greek and American menu.

The menu is not your average gyro menu. There are seven different kinds of gyros: traditional lamb, beef steak, ham and cheese, fish, veggie, turkey and chicken. Customers have been interested in trying the interesting combinations all with fresh cut tomatoes, onions and homemade tzatziki (cucumber) sauce.

But oddly, the most requested and best reviewed item is the Philly Cheesesteak. Greg Harris of Cedar Mills could not say enough about it.

“It is the best thing on the menu,” Harris said. “And that is saying something because everything here is really good.”

Why does this Greek restaurant do such a good cheesesteak? Dede tells a little secret about that sandwich.

“I get the bread delivered fresh from Nova’s Bakery each day,” he said. “And I use quality meat and ingredients.”

The restaurant is looking to start a delivery business for the Mountain Island area, about a 3- to 5-mile radius.They also might get a couple of flat screens and open up on Sundays to draw a family-oriented football crowd.

In the meantime, Dede and Inan love being their own bosses and becoming a real part of the community. Both apron up and start cooking after our interview and out come the chicken gryo, Philly Cheesesteak and onion rings. All are fresh tasting with good flavors and fresh toppings.

The Philly Cheesesteak is the runaway favorite – that is, until the baklava comes out.

Inan smiles at the compliments. He makes it each day and tweaks the recipe for the freshest ingredients.

Mountain Island’s newest restaurant, serving fresh Greek and American fare is like a grown up gyro dive: clean, unique and delicious.

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