Athens is great for a little taste of Persia

by | December 4, 2007 | 10 Comments

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Athens

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7700 NW 23rd St.
Bethany, OK 73008
405-787-4414
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There’s just something about seeing Mr. Salehi and his family preparing tasty Greek food behind the counter at Athens. It’s like going home for lunch. You know the people preparing your food, and it’s comfortable while you wait. The TV is always on, and today we even had Christmas music playing over the TV, which was even better. Many times there are two or three squad cars full of Bethany police officers eating in too. Plus all the other regulars. In fact, some days at peak lunchtime, you might have to wait for a table. But if you combine two tables for a large group, be sure you put everything back like you found it. They like that. Yep, Athens is one of the few great restaurant finds in the Bethany area.

Athen’s Greek and American Restaurant in Oklahoma CityThe Salehis arrived in the U.S. 30 years ago from Iran, or ancient Persia. They have been serving up their own recipes for 11 years now, and I think they have the absolute best gyro meat in town. Remember as a kid when you went to Long John Silver’s and the best thing about the meal was the crunchy tidbits of batter in the bottom of the basket? Well, Athens has the same type of thing, only the crunchy tidbits in the bottoms of their baskets are tasty bits of gyro meat. This is why I think their meat is the best – somehow or another, Mr. Salehi knows how to get his gryo meat crunchy, and it’s fabulous.

These crunchy little tidbits come on the Greek platter, which is my favorite dish. It’s a combination of shaved gyro meat, pita bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and their own homemade meat dip, which is a kind of yogurt dip with yummy seasonings. And in fact, they have recently improved on this – today it was very creamy with extra seasonings. I recommend the Greek platter because you can make mini-gyros with it instead of the great big huge regular-sized gyro that, in my opinion, is hard to eat. My husband, on the other hand, likes the big, huge gyro, as it is more of a big, meaty, manly man sandwich. I order a side of their homemade tabouli to top off my platter, which is just right. But if you order the regular-sized gyro, you can get the lunch combo that comes with fries and a drink.

If you’re not into gyro meat (my Mom can’t stand the thought of eating “a sweet little innocent lamb”), Athens also serves great grilled chicken, other types of sandwiches and even great tasting old-fashioned grilled hamburgers and big, thick fries. In fact, sometimes we just go for the burgers. If you’re not a meat person, they also have a good three-salad combo which is made up of the Persian salad, Greek salad and tabouli. And there’s always a tray of freshly made baklava on the counter for dessert.

This is a great place. One of the guys I work with eats lunch here almost every day, and one of my best friends and I use Athens to talk about work strategies. It’s where we go when we really need to talk and solve all of our workplace problems. One tip before you go, don’t park on the west side of the building. The silly loan place next door has posted rude signs that they’ll have you towed if you do. Only park east.

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This article was posted by Sarah Sutton on Tuesday, December 4th, 2007. It is filed under:

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  • Rick says:
    December 27th, 2007 at 3:19 pm   

    Crunchy gyro meat? No thanks! Do they have any real Mediterranian main dishes beside gyros?

  • Sarah says:
    December 27th, 2007 at 4:39 pm   

    By crunchy, I meant the little tidbits at the bottom of the platter. The large, main strips of gyro meat are not that way. Since this is officially a Greek-American establishment, they have a more limited selection of Greek/Med foods. Gyros, salads, spanakopita and hummus are their main specialties, with burgers and grilled sandwiches comprising the rest of the menu. They do not have anything “fancy” like stuffed grape leaves (dolmades) or any fish or eggplant dishes.

  • Rick says:
    December 28th, 2007 at 1:34 pm   

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ll have to check it out some time.

  • Carol says:
    January 5th, 2008 at 3:30 pm   

    Funny you should mention Long John Silvers, because that is what this place was in another life. Good food, good price!

  • Tim says:
    July 19th, 2008 at 3:29 pm   

    It had been a while since I had been here, but I went by last Wednesday night. Had the Gyro platter with fries and tabbouleh. The sides are all decent, but the gyro is tops. I think it’s the best in town.

  • Monkeyhead says:
    January 11th, 2009 at 1:15 am   

    I used to eat here all the time. The food tasted great, and the service fast so it pains me to give this place a bad review…because I really, really liked it. That was until the night when the tomato in my mediterranean salad grew legs and walked-off my plate.

    Yes, a cockroach.

    Now, I know that the little critters are everywhere, but I just cannot bring myself to go back to a place where I almost ingested one. I still have nightmares.

  • Tim says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 10:29 am   

    @Monkeyhead, that is unfortunate. Just keep in mind that it can happen anywhere and isn’t necessarily indicative of the norm at a restaurant. One time for a special occassion I was staying at a very, very nice hotel in Dallas with a very highly regarded restaurant on site. They sent up a fruit plate to our room for breakfast and in it, we found a dead beetle. If it can happen to them it can happen anywhere.

  • Wimpy says:
    July 30th, 2009 at 3:28 pm   

    I’ve looked for the Lunch Box just east of the bus sta. downtown but didn’t find it but I’m probably looking under the wrong heading.
    Has anyone done a review on it? It has changed hands but as far as I know its still open and a great place to eat if it is cafeteria style!

  • Sarah says:
    July 30th, 2009 at 9:12 pm   

    Wimpy, according to our Shady column writer, Andrew, yes, it is still just east of the bus station. But, no we haven’t reviewed it yet.

  • Rosie says:
    May 12th, 2011 at 11:34 am   

    I have eaten here a few times, with most being very good and happy with service. However, a few months back, I was in on a Sat. for lunch and the young girl who works the counter was in the bathroom throwing up. AND it was loud! I had gone to wash my hands before ordering and getting my drink. She came back, and I made a joke about her being ill and contagious. She stated she got hot and that was why she threw up. For me, I cannot go back. Whether she was sick or not, it was gross…and I worry about the spreading of germs. BTW, it was winter.

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