I caught up with him on Day Two at Vios No. 2, which made its bookstore debut at Third Place Books last week:
“We did this fast,” Thomas told me — though not quite as fast as the Tamara Murphy-turnaround at Elliott Bay. The former Honey Bear Cafe once housed here in Ravenna served its last nosh September first (Honey Bear is still doing business at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park) and a construction crew was on the job soon thereafter, adding the kind of touches Vios is known for. Like this comfy kids’ corner:
Kids of all ages will be pleased to see that Thomas is selling Bottega Italiana’s incredible gelato:
And though the menu has all the signatures of the Capitol Hill original — from the Greek spreads ($5), to the tzatziki-sauced sandwiches ($6.50-$7.25) to my favorite cumin-scented salad with octopus and chickpeas ($6/$12) and sweets like baklava and galaktoboureko ($5.50) — the new place has something the old one doesn’t have: a Woodstone pizza oven!
So they’ll be serving a full-on “flat bread menu” as well, topping the fresh-baked bread with the likes of roasted pepper sauce, cauliflower, Manouri cheese and green olives ($9.50) and Greek sausage with arugula, tomato and provolone ($9). There’s breakfast, too — unfortunately, no longer an option on Capitol Hill. And a full-quid of inexpensive (mostly) Greek wines to drink along with dinner specials like lamb giouvetsi ($14) and veg-friendly spanakorizo ($10). What’s more, if you head downstairs to the Pub at Third Place (a great meeting place for small groups, by the way), Vios will hook you up with good eats there, too.
Things were pretty quiet on my visit, but I’ll bet they won’t be quiet for long. Not with an inviting dining area like this:
And cafe tables with wireless access for the “welcome-to-my-office” crowd:
On a recent trip to Greece with his young son, Alexander, Thomas reveled in the number of cafe/bookstores in his native country. And back here in his adopted hometown he feels thankful — if a bit exhausted — to have the chance to expand his vision for Vios into Third Place Books. “It’s a good concept for this neighborhood,” said Thomas, who will divide his time between the two restaurants. “It’s comfortable. It’s local and it fits well with the community.”