For most of my adult life, I’ve been lucky enough to live in cities that offer incredible Greek food. When we moved to Idaho, we quickly realized that our options were going to be limited. Then, one time when we were at P.F. Chang’s, we noticed Meraki Greek Street Food just next door. More than a year later, my daughter and I decided to try it.
Downtown for the evening, we made our way to the unassuming restaurant. It features an outdoor patio where live music is sometimes played during the warm months. It was cold on the day when we visited, and already getting dark, so we headed straight inside.
Good Greek Options
Meraki’s menu is extensive and some of the offerings sound pretty cool. From Greek Cheese Sticks and Gyros to Zeus Fries, there’s something for everyone. Considering its location, Meraki Greek Street Food must see a wide-range of customers, including college students leaving a hockey game at the Centurylink Arena just across the street.
The restaurant is a little on the small side for the number of tables and the decor is industrial. We didn’t mind it at all, it just wasn’t what I was expecting from a Greek restaurant. Typically, they are filled with bright colors and warm furnishings but Meraki has taken more of a minimalist approach.
We chose a high-top table for a little extra privacy because the regular tables are so close together (a good choice considering it filled up soon after we took our seats). There was also a counter-style seating area connected to a window that can be rolled up when the weather’s nice. That’s a nice element!
What We Ordered at Meraki
While we were trying to keep things somewhat low carb, Hayley and I decided to splurge a little. After such a positive first experience, we headed down to Meraki Greek Street Food. We both selected the Chicken Souvlaki Plate, which comes with skewered meat, lemon rice, small Greek or Village salad (we chose Greek), grilled pita, and house-made tzatziki.
It was absolutely delicious! The chicken was the perfect texture, the rice was super flavorful (and contained actual pieces of lemon), and the salad was fresh. Watching my carb count, I tried to show restraint with the pita but it was too good and the tzatziki was out of this world. Creamy and garlicky, it was exactly how I like it!
Thanking the staff, we happily bundled up and did some downtown exploring with full bellies, vowing to return when we were back in the area. Too bad it didn’t go as well the second time.
The Second Visit
Words can’t express how excited we were to head back to Meraki. When we walked in, we noticed that it was much busier than it had been the first time. We placed our order, climbed up into the same exact seats we’d had during our initial visit, and waited for our food.
And we waited.
Then, as we waited, we listened to other people complaining. Some tables received half their orders, putting the diners in an awkward position — do you eat your food while your friends starve or do you wait and let it get cold? We’re not talking a few minutes, either. Two of the ladies behind us were almost finished with their meals while their companions were still waiting 20 minutes later.
People pulled waitstaff aside and asked about their orders. Others openly voiced their frustration. We sat there silently, hoping we wouldn’t suffer the same fate. It took a long time but our food finally arrived and, when it did, I was completely shocked.
Lack of Consistency
The rice was lifeless with no signs of lemon. My skewer was dark, fatty meat (inedible) even though I’d ordered white meat (fortunately, Hayley’s meat was fine!). Our salads were missing entirely. Walking up to the counter, I told them about my food and the girl just kind of looked at me as if she had no idea what to do. I suggested she start by finding our salads.
Ten minutes later, no salads had come out, no one had come to check on the rest of my complaints, and I was fuming. There was just one competent staff member working that night and he was busy running around trying to put out fires. He was incredibly sweet, dedicated, and doing all of the right things, but he was on his own.
For our troubles, he brought us some free baklava, but by then my appetite was gone. After several attempts to have my food corrected and being completely and utterly ignored by the kitchen, we walked out. Of course, we had already paid, so doing that really upset me.
Follow Up and Insight Gained
When I got home, I reached out to the owners on Facebook and received an apology that included a lot of defensiveness and excuses. Honestly, there is no excuse for that kind of service and they did not appear short-staffed. If a meal is supposed to come with a salad and lemon rice, and those things are missing, you have failed as an establishment. Period.
Funny enough, I was at the barbershop for a haircut and ran into the kid who had been working so hard that night. He gave me a huge hug and explained that he no longer works at Meraki. We’ll just leave it at that. From now on, if I’m craving a gyro, though, I’ll just hit the drive-thru at Gyro Shack!