With an owner named Tzilvelis, it seemed just a matter of time before Manny and the “culinary firm”  of Tzsilvelis, Caruso, and Chefalas added the popular Mediterranean cuisine to their renowned fine Italian offering. Fortunately for one starving “foodie”, who promised his wife that he would ‘take care of dinner” on a hectic evening, the time is now.

The new Formaggio’s Greek menu is an extensive and authentic offering…Not just some “Mc- Mediterranean” offering looking to capture extra sales from unsuspecting guests. The menu in and of itself is an educational piece and spells out the wonderful nuances of this special fare.

I did the “grab and go” deal as homework, presidential debates, and a predisposition to avoiding that orange Stouffers box forced us to bypass the quaint Formaggio’s dining room otherwise ideal for the meal. The “ball got rolling” literally as we tried a Mezedes ( appetizer)  called Rice Balls. Seasoned ground beef delicately blended with rice and feta and served with homemade Tzatziki sauce clearly makes this a “one for you, two for me” menu item. A Spinach Pie baked in delicate fillo dough earned me points with an iron-deficient spouse (and Popeye), while being tasty enough for all to enjoy.

Next came the foundational Yeero (Gyro) that was served in a soft, fresh pita with a second serving of that authentic Tzatziki. The grilled meat was tender and outrageously tasty and was not hidden in a salad of onions and lettuce like some quick serve offerings. Lastly, we took on one of my favorites from my days sponging around in Tarpon Springs, Pastichio (Greek Lasagna.)

Wow, this was every bit what one would expect in a Greek neighborhood as the Béchamel sauce and mystery “Greek spices” were the secret. Manny said he was not authorized to share what they were and I vowed not to ask one of his sons that help make the business go.

The Formaggio’s formula is simply food, family, and philanthropy. This is what they do and who makes it happen and what they do with what they have been given. For those regulars, stop in and try this great new menu. For you “newbies,” be thankful and support a local venue “in the hood” that is making such great food and doing so much good.  Remember to hit the convenient Formaggio’s Pizzeria Express next to SteinMart and as always, call the TakeOut Butler for those busy times when cooking is not an option.

For more information call 643-FOOD or takeoutbutler.com


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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.