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Café’s main ingredient is the flavor of love

Owner says, serving high-quality food has kept his business alive during the economic downturn

January 15, 2013

Emblazoned on the cover of the menu at Kyklos Greek Café located in the Galleria at Sunset mall food court is a phrase that reads: “The main ingredient is love.”

Kyklos’ owner, Sophocles Frangakis, said that the love he has for preparing and serving high-quality food is what has kept his business going during the recent economic downturn and other changes in his life.

“I have a love for this,” he said. “The challenges I have faced have increased my faith in God and made me a better businessman. I am actually grateful for them.”

Frangakis had worked for the previous owners of Kyklos for several years before he and his two brothers, Constantine and Ioannis, bought the restaurant in 2002. Each of the brothers had extensive fine dining experience, and the combination of their talents led to the success of the business in its early years.

According to Frangakis, a slowdown in the economy, coupled with the pressures that are often associated with running a family business, led him to buy out his brothers in 2010.

“Trust was never an issue for us, but we are three alpha males with strong personalities, and that created conflict within our business,” Frangakis said. “The economy also took a turn for the worse, which made it more difficult to create the income to support three households. I decided to take over Kyklos, and my learning curve grew by leaps and bounds.”

With his brothers out of the business, Frangakis took on all of the roles they had filled. He added bookkeeper and public relations representative to his already full plate of responsibilities.

“It was like being on a desert island all alone,” he said. “Right away, there were major failures in equipment, and I had to learn how to do taxes and other things. Most of the time, I just concentrated on doing the next thing that was in front of me.”

Frangakis said that he worked seven days a week and did not take a salary for six months in 2011. Although Kyklos’ level of business is back to where it was in 2002, inflation and all of its costs have increased exponentially. In spite of the increases in the cost of doing business, things slowly have begun to turn around.

“I claim to be stupid enough to persist when things didn’t look good,” he said. “I cut costs and just hung on. This whole experience has really increased the confidence I have in my abilities.”

According to Frangakis, the commitment he has to producing high-quality food has been the saving grace of his business. Customers often tell him that he should open a sit down restaurant, and that Kyklos’ gyros are the best they have ever had.

“The way that Kyklos operates today works perfectly for the environment of the Galleria mall,” he said. “We give away a lot of free samples, and the foot traffic that the mall produces benefits our business. I may consider opening another location, when I feel the time is right.”

Frangakis identified customer service and perseverance as keys to running a successful business.

“I am in business to make money like any other entrepreneur, but the most important thing is the learning process,” he said. “I want my customers to be happy when they leave and know that I care about them.”

Sophocles Frangakis, who originally went into business with his brothers, is now the sole owner of Kyklos Greek Café, which is located in the food court of the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson. photo by Guy Dawson.[/two_third_last]

 Guy Dawson.

Brothers serve authentic Greek fare at food court

Kyklos at the Galleria at Sunset mall draws fans from across the valley

By LAUREN ROMANO
VIEW STAFF WRITER

LOUIE TRAUB/VIEWAbove, customers order food at Kyklos Greek Cafe at the Galleria at Sunset mall food court. The cafe is owned and operated by, from left, brothers Costa, Sophocles and Yiannis Frangakis.LOUIE TRAUB/VIEWAbove, customers order food at Kyklos Greek Cafe at the Galleria at Sunset mall food court. The cafe is owned and operated by, from left, brothers Costa, Sophocles and Yiannis Frangakis.

The mall food court serves its purpose, a pit stop for weary shoppers. But Kyklos Greek Cafe in the Galleria at Sunset mall offers a true dining experience, even if the homemade food is served on a tray.

About six years ago, the Frangakis brothers bought the restaurant and turned the counter service fast-food joint into a family-run eatery.

“It’s love, love for what we’re doing, love for our customers and love for one another,” said Sophocles Frangakis, the oldest of the three brothers.

It wasn’t always so easy, though.

“Three male egos in one small place like this, we really got to know ourselves,” Sophocles said. “And how to work together.”

The first-generation Americans, who grew up in Las Vegas and Henderson, always ate traditional Greek foods that their parents cooked. Later, each brother worked in the restaurant business.

Costa Frangakis has a degree from the UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. He worked at the Aladdin and the MGM Grand in hotel room and butler service.

Sophocles spent time in Andre’s at the Monte Carlo and worked as a sommelier at Caesars Palace.

Yiannis Frangakis, the youngest, has a degree in horticulture from the College of Southern Nevada but worked his way through school as a fine dining food server at the Luxor.

Some of the recipes are passed down from the family and others were modified from the Honey Tree, which served the Greek food before Kyklos opened.

“When we first opened, we developed a way of doing things that work,” Sophocles said. “If we picked up and put the restaurant into another mall, it would be a success.”

The menu is full of fresh, homemade Greek favorites, including the gyro, with seasoned beef and lamb, served in a toasted pita with fresh tomatoes and thinly sliced onions and topped with yogurt sauce. There also are chicken, Philly and vegetarian gyros.

Many ingredients, including olive oil and the yogurt sauce, are imported from Greece.

“It’s restaurant-quality food. We’re just found in the food court,” Costa said.

Other items include spanakopita, which is spinach pie made with spinach, feta cheese, sautéed onions, eggs and spices baked into buttery, flaky phyllo dough; and souvlaki, skewers of marinated pork tenderloin cooked on an open flame, served as a platter with rice pilaf, grilled vegetables, pita bread and a side of homemade tzatziki. There is baklava for dessert, and, Sophocles said, although hummus isn’t actually Greek, people were always asking for it, so it has been added to the menu.

“We divide the cooking so that we’re all educated on the ingredients and understand how everything is made,” Yiannis said.

Costa said customers come from all over the valley.

“This is a family atmosphere,” Yiannis said. “We treat our customers like family, too.”

Kyklos means circle in Greek.

“The three of us are a circle of love, of brotherhood,” Sophocles said.

The brothers said regulars always ask when they are going to open a sit-down restaurant. Although they don’t have an answer, they all said they would be open to any opportunities that come along.

A complete meal is about $10 per person.

Kyklos is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Hours are extended during holidays with the mall hours.

For more information, visit www.kyklosgreekcafe.com.

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Yelp

“Mall food, who would have thought it could be so delicious!”

“Take away the screaming children, punk-teenagers, and the smell of Abercrombie and insert Kyklos, a delicious hidden treasure within the Galleria Mall’s hoppin food court.”

“Greek eats, gyros, rice and meat plates, enormous salads, and FANTASTIC SERVICE! The chicken gyro was one of the best I’ve had in a very long time. Most ethnic cuisine leaves me a bit weary when it comes to meats, especially chicken. But! Kyklos serves recognizable, lean meats served with tasty Greek sides.”

“If you are in the area, in the mood for Greek, give Kyklos a try! This joint is definitely a healthy and delicious option and one of the Mall’s most redeeming food court qualities :)”

citysearch

“Fabulous Greek food!!!!. ‘The gyros are the best!!! Can’t wait to try the Souvlaki!! This restaurant should be in a stand alone building with a bar. They would make a fortune!!! Much too good for a mall food court!!! This is homemade food like Mama made. The employees/owners are extremely nice and pleasant. We’ll be back!!!!”

 

urbanspoon

 

“I always enjoy Kyklos’ menu no matter what I order. The food is authentic. The employees are great and they’re genuinely happy to help people who don’t inderstand the menu.” Mobile Review”

rsz_tripadvisor

“Eaten here several times. Always have a Gyro, so cannot comment on other dishes. Always have the same because it’s GREAT. Best feta cheese I’ve found anywhere.”

rsz_logo_bolv

“OK, Kyklos is in a mall food court; have we lost what’s left of our minds? Nah, just discovered a great little spot for superlative gyros, hummus, souvlaki and falafel at bargain-basement — or mall food court — prices. And besides, they deliver.”