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    Friday, April 19, 2024

    Christo’s in Pawcatuck seems to have found its stride

    Christo’s beef gyro (Ann Baldelli)
    A half moussaka and half sausage pizza at Christo’s (Ann Baldelli)
    Christo’s Greek salad (Ann Baldelli)
    Chicken wings at Christo’s (Ann Baldelli)
    The exterior of Christo’s (Ann Baldelli)

    My lunch buddy, the guy who seemingly always orders roast beef, stayed in the same lane this time, but found a new favorite.

    The beef gyro at Christo’s has won his heart, so much so that a few days after we had lunch there and he first sampled it, he went back for takeout to get another.

    Christo’s was once one of three local restaurants all with the same name and, I’m told, the same owner. They were sold last fall, and the Christo’s in Pawcatuck, like the others in Mystic and Ledyard, each got a new owner. Since then, there have been good reviews on social media about the Pawcatuck location, enough of them that I added that Christo’s, in a plaza with a gym, pharmacy, electric supply shop, and veterinarian, to my list of places to visit.

    We tried takeout first, picking up a couple salads, a pizza, and some appetizers to share, and everyone was satisfied. But I think food always tastes better when it is served straight from the kitchen, not packaged in plastic or cardboard, and driven to a destination.

    So we ventured in just after noon on a recent Wednesday and were warmly greeted by our waiter, William, who seated us in a booth and confirmed yes, this Christo’s, like the others, is under new ownership. We ordered soft drinks, which quickly arrived, and we sipped on them as we perused the menu. There is a lot to choose from and we were hungry.

    On William’s advice, we decided on the chicken wings, $11.99, which he told us are prepared by the owner in-house and are not bought frozen, pre-breaded in a bag. There were eight wings and they were piping hot, crispy brown on the outside with the chicken inside moist and tender. We asked for blue cheese dressing on the side, and agreed the wings were quite tasty.

    We also got the Greek salad to share, $12.99, and it too was very good, with crisp chopped Romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, red onion, and feta. We opted for the Greek dressing, but there were other choices.

    It was a big portion, and loaded with the olives and briny peppers, but it would have been even better with a couple of dolma, or stuffed grape leaves, added in. We would also prefer the Greek olives without the pits, although that is a minor objection. We will get the salad again.

    We were at a pizza house so of course we got pizza, a small combination pie, half moussaka and half sausage, for $13.50. Like all good New England Greek-style pizza, the crust was thick, soft, and crispy on the edges and the top, cheesy but not so cheesy that it overwhelmed the other toppings. It was a pretty perfect pie. My lunch buddy thinks of himself as a moussaka aficionado, and he gave this pizza a big thumbs up.

    The dark horse of our lunch was the beef gyro, $9.99, which, like everything else, we split. The beef was tender and the pita fresh and flavorful. It was not drenched in tzatziki sauce, which can sometimes ruin the sandwich, but it had just the right amount of sauce, with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and in our case, red onions on the side.

    My roast-beef-loving pal couldn’t stop talking about how good the gyro was, and as I said, went back a couple days later to get it again. You can have it with beef or chicken, and for $2 more, they will add French fries.

    One thing we haven’t tried, but which we have been told is a house favorite, is the fish and chips, $17.09, which is served only on Fridays and Saturdays. The same dinner for two is $29.09. That sounds like a bargain.

    The menu at Christo’s in Pawcatuck is big, with appetizers and sides, salads, pizzas, calzones, dinners, grinders, wraps, burgers, and soups, and the prices are reasonable. There seems to be a steady clientele, and with easy, convenient parking, this place with its new ownership seems to have found its stride. If you’re passing by, give it a try.

    Christo’s Pizza & More

    37 South Broad St., Pawcatuck

    (860) 599-3000

    Atmosphere: The interior is worn but very clean, with three booths, a couple tables, and counter service. There are blue vinyl cushions and attractive blue hanging lamps that make the place cozy. On the walls, there are neon signs advertising beer, a television, and a chalkboard listing the daily specials. It’s the kind of place where they greet you when you walk through the door.

    Alcohol: Beer and soft drinks

    Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Service: Our waiter, identified as William K on our receipt, was terrific, offering excellent recommendations and superior service.

    Prices: Reasonable

    Reservations: It’s a pizza house.

    Credit cards: Yes

    Handicapped accessible: Yes

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