Many of you have enjoyed KafeNeo’s American kitchen with Greek soul, but how many of you remember what business preceded the café? I’ll give you a hint, it involved mechanics and was owned by the father of KafeNeo’s current owners, brothers Gus and Peter Sverkos.
Purchased around 1972-73, Dennis Sverkos bought the lot at 2800 E. 4th St. and established an import auto repair shop called The Carriage Shop. Does this ring a bell to any long time Long Beachers?
The Carriage Shop did well for about 35 years, but when it came time for Dennis to retire, the family put their American hearts with Greek soul together and KafeNeo was created.
The idea developed naturally, as the Sverkos brothers grew up with Mama Sverkos cooking large Greek meals, but also incorporating American ingredients into her family recipes. She would sometimes use tortillas instead of filo dough and add feta cheese to her hamburgers and French fries, both which are popular choices on the KafeNeo menu.
“It was just a natural process because we are American, but sons of immigrants and we have that Greek in us so just by osmosis, the idea was created,” Gus said.
With a family of five siblings all born and raised in Long Beach and Wilson High School graduates, it’s nice to see locals succeeding at a family business that incorporates American ideas with foreign roots.
And celebrating four years October 17th, KafeNeo is humble, happy, and has become a growing staple in the 4th street community.
“Our business comes in waves, but it’s interesting to watch at nighttime because 9 o’clock rolls around and people come out of their houses and everyone’s saying hello to each other and it kinda becomes a family atmosphere,” Gus said.
“And I may not know everybody, but we know each other just because he’s the guy from down the street, she’s the lady that lives up the block and they both know each other, so that’s created a really friendly, neighborhood environment for us,” he said.
Sounds like a very exciting progression from a family owned auto repair shop to the same family owned restaurant and an excellent fit for the very community friendly 4th street.
On the KafeNeo menu, you’ll find The Greek Breakfast Burrito with fresh eggs, Greek sausage, fresh spinach, feta, and neo potatoes wrapped in a flour tortilla. Also, some amazing classic pancakes served with fresh berries and powered sugar and Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit.
Lunch and dinner includes classic Pita sandwiches filled with sautéed chicken and three cheese, an Almond Crusted Halibut, pasta dishes like the Fresh Salmon & Spinach Pasta topped with mitzithra cheese and a very popular stuffed Lamp Chop Plate.
Or, take these suggestions from some locals:
“I love to walk to KafeNeo when I am craving Mediterranean food. They have a lot of vegetarian options and their falafel pitas are really good,” said KafeNeo neighbor Hope Lee.
Her roommate Sarah Wells seconded her enthusiasm, adding “I’ve tried almost everything on the menu and have never been disappointed. Just recently tried the Spicy Fita Calamari Pita and it was absolutely phenomenal!”
So come down to KafeNeo and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner 7 days a week, open daily from 7:30 a.m. until 10 or 11 p.m., depending on the night. In addition to delectable food choices, KafeNeo also has some wonderful options of organic coffee and loose leaf tees, beer bottles and an array of Californian and imported wines.
Also, please share with the rest of the readers what your favorite dishes are at KafeNeo with a comment below!
This might be an easy choice, but their Chicken Pita's are gooooooood, always juicy, never dry!
They're open in the evening... wait like until what time? They were just tweeting today about 1/2 bottles of wine tonight.