Let’s all close our eyes and do some imagining.

It’s been a long week. It’s been awhile since you’ve treated the Fam to a nice dinner out. It’s…well, it’s frankly a night that you absolutely do not want to cook.

You could go to the usual family dining institutions…I mean theydo have pictures of Marilynn Monroe and Jeff Gordon on the walls…

…Or maybe you could try out a place that doesn’t rely on pieces of flair to make you feel like family…maybe you could go to The Parthenon Greek Grill and Taverna.

And by “maybe,” I mean “definitely.”

Let’s talk about what makes the Parthenon awesome. Again, I will break it down in numbers as my brain tends to take detours on the road of organization…

1. The Atmosphere!
2. The People!
3. The FOOD!
4. The Events!

The atmosphere at the Parthenon is perfect for a night out, no matter what kind of group you’ve got. Let me tell you, as a mom who sometimes feels like a giant tube of diaper cream, it’s so nice to be able to go out and feel fancy. What’s even nicer is to be able to feel fancy and know that no one is going to give you the stink-eye for asking for a high-chair.

The dining room is large and inviting, and the smells just about make your jaw hit the floor. If you’re into the booze, you’ll be pleased to see a couple of walls lined with fine wine and liquor. If you’re not into the booze, you’ll probably just have to settle with lemonade and mind-blowing food. I hope you’ll be able to handle it.

The atmosphere is complemented by a refreshingly friendly staff. I dare you, just ask your server what his or her favorite dish is. When you can practically see drool coming out of a server’s mouth as they describe the food, it’s usually a good sign.

Who’s behind this food, you ask? Well, I should probably introduce you to George and Mike Kazas, the brothers and brains behind the operation.

If you’re wondering, George is on the left and Mike is on the right. Hopefully they’ll forgive me for picking an eye contact-lacking picture…Charlie was just too cute in this one…

I had a couple questions for the guys, and they went a little bit like this:

Me : “What is it that makes your food so good?”
George : “We grew up with it. It has to do with the recipes and the quality of food. It’s not coming out of a bag or a can.
Mike : “George makes it. George comes up with the recipes and makes them what they are.”

George, of course, waved this off with a modest “Oh, stop it,” look on his face.

Something that I find to be particularly awesome about this restaurant is their support of local business.

Me : “What makes Lincoln the perfect place for your restaurant?”
George : “Lincoln is a small town. I’d say 70% of our business is regular customers. For the most part it’s getting a whole lot better as far as buying local. Throughout the summer pretty close to 90% of our produce is all local. Between the farmer’s market and local farmers, we’ve got almost everything we need. Everything Dartam Farms produced last year was specifically for us. I don’t think you can get that in your bigger cities. Yeah, it’s up and coming, but it would be much more difficult to do that in a larger community.”

Now, Mike and George aren’t the only awesome people in this joint; part of what makes this dining experience so memorable is the staff. Water is refilled quickly (that’s one of my husband’s tipping guidelines), and they are adept in the art of “attentive but not obnoxious.”

When talking about the staff, George explains, “We’ve got a whole ton of great people we’ve been working with that have been here forever, which makes what we do great.” And he’s not kidding.

Speaking of great…let’s talk about food.

Oh, my goodness gracious and gravy, the food. The Parthenon’s menu is just like the atmosphere: totally awesome and totally versatile. You want to try something new and exotic? Try the broiled baby octopus.

No, I’m serious. Gravy serious.

I am pretty terrified of eating fish. I like crab legs and sometimes shrimp. A few visits ago, however, George came to the table (by the way, George makes a habit of coming out to the front, greeting customers and checking on food quality) and insisted we try the octopus. (I should probably add that we eat here fairly frequently, so it’s not like George runs around forcing dishes on people or anything.)

We tried it, and it was ROCKIN’. The octopus had a perfect grilled flavor, rather than a well…octopus-like flavor, and was resting on a bed of caramelized red onions, and…jeeze… I’m telling you, just try it.

Now, if you don’t want to try something crazy, there’s plenty of menu for you, too. Things like gyros, chicken gyros, pasta, salads, vegan entrees, and steaks all get the same amount of love and are completely delicious.

The most important piece of advice I can give you in regards to the Parthenon’s food is this:Always check the specials.
George is coming up with original dishes every day and Mike is back there making them delicious. There are new, special entrees, appetizers and desserts on the right side of the menu, so make sure you check them out!

The second most important piece of information I can give you is this: Try the baklava ice cream. This stuff is homemade, vanilla ice cream filled to the brim with crunched up bits ofbaklava. It will make you close your eyes and imagine going on vacation to a place where all of the pools are filled with baklava ice cream…a place where sunscreen is made of baklava ice cream…a place where your shampoo is made of…well, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Dessert is a must.

In case you were wondering, those are pistachio and macadamia nut tarts, and, yes, it’s appropriate for you to be salivating.

Finally, (as this is getting to be suuuuuper long) I have to talk about the events that happen here. Mike and George put on everything from Wine and Beer Dinners to house-shaking holiday parties. Wine and Beer Dinners usually consist of multiple-course meals with a featured adult beverage for each course. At a holiday party, (St. Patrick’s day is their 3rd busiest day of the year!) you can experience anything from a Mariachi band to belly dancers, to a jazzy dude singin’ the night away. They’ve got a big Fat Tuesday celebration planned, so keep your eyes open and “like” them on Facebook to stay updated!

There are about a gazillion reasons why you should come eat at the Parthenon. I’ve written about three pages, so I’ve obviously covered a lot of them… You can find them at your local festivals, state/county fairs, and farmer’s markets serving up mouthwatering Greek food…or you can come for Brunch on Sundays, or enjoy your dinner out on the patio when the weather gets nicer, or…

I should probably stop. Why? Because you shouldn’t be reading anymore; you should be yelling “Opa!” and movin’ those booties over to the Parthenon Greek Grill. See you there.