It’s a dine-in for dollars fundraiser for the Falls Church City Elementary PTA at Plaka Grill, and I know just what I’ll find when I arrive for lunch: outside, a parking lot full of minivans sporting magnets from the City’s four schools. Inside, I’ll find tables full of the school community’s parents, volunteers, and PTA board members enjoying friendship and fun over plates of some of the most authentic Greek food in Northern Virginia. By showing the cashier a flyer when we pay for our meals, Plaka Grill donates a portion of our tab to the PTA, supporting teacher grants in the process.
A few weeks later, the scene is replicated at the restaurant that is known as much for its food as for its corporate citizenship; but this time, it’s to help raise funds for the Falls Church Homeless Shelter.
Peter Drosos, the owner and chef behind it all, says it’s just part of wanting to help others out. “I’m a firm believer in giving back to the communities and to the people who support us, and these fundraisers are a great way to show our appreciation,” he said. “I’m a native Northern Virginian, and it’s something I started doing when I opened the Plaka Grill in Vienna. I’m glad to be able to continue doing it here in Falls Church.”
The Falls Church location, opened in 2015, serves a delicious range of Greek food, the majority of which is made in-house and from scratch every day. Key ingredients, including peppers, olives, yogurt, and feta, are also imported, helping Plaka set itself apart from some other restaurants’ ‘Americanized Greek’ fare. Mainstays include souvlaki, pita wraps, lamb kapama, Greek pizza, and my own personal favorite, the Plaka Gyro—made with slow-roasted pork, fries, tomatoes, tzatziki, and onions in a pita. There are plenty of options for vegetarians, and those with dietary restrictions will find Plaka’s menu an easy read: gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free are all clearly marked.
This spring, Drosos also plans to introduce new menu items in Falls Church, something he typically does about every two years.
“Our Falls Church location is in the former home of a Cozi’s, and I want to put their open-flame stone oven to good use with some Greek pizza!”, he said. “Many of the new menu items result from things I make for friends and for parties first—they’re my guinea pigs.”
It was at his friends’ urging, in fact, that inspired him to open the restaurant in the first place. His family had been in the restaurant business for many years, with Peter often helping out in the kitchen. In 2003, he started a three-year stint in Athens, Greece, where he attended culinary school and ate out at as many restaurants as he could to sample the food and hone his own craft. After obtaining his degree in culinary arts, he continued to travel back to Greece and worked in several establishments to learn the art of handmade gyro and souvlaki before opening Plaka’s Vienna location in 2007.
Plaka Grill is routinely noted for excellence by Washingtonian, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zagat, and Best of Falls Church.