Featuring a womb of wooden wainscoted walls, a handful of murals worthy of a Grecian urn, and the full tablecloth treatment, this is your grandfather's Greek restaurant. Though they’ve remodeled and expanded since they opened, walking in to this spot, the longest open on Halsted St., is like walking in to a time machine.
Though his children have taken over the business day to day, you can usually spot owner Chris Liakouras nursing a drink at the bar and reading the local broadsides. You'd be wise to stop by and pay your respects, as he also happens to be a legendary inventor. While it's the hallmark of every lamb and pita joint in the United States these days, there was no such thing as flaming Saganaki cheese until Liakouras grabbed a bottle of Metaxa and doused some fried cheese and put on a show for a couple of regular patrons in 1968.
These days the cheese is still hot, but you should definitely take your cues from the flaming spits harboring juicy gyro cones and a whole lamb in the window and order up some roasted meat. Unlike most joints which use pre-processed previously frozen lamb and beef, the gyros at Parthenon are handmade and cured and feature beef with a touch of pinkness. The house sausage perfumed with the essential oils of orange rind is also singular.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant