Petra Greek shares authentic family recipesBy: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
In 1979, 18-year-old John Raptakis from the Island of Crete came to the United States alone. He worked in construction, and after some time, he realized there weren’t many Greek restaurants in the area, so he decided to start his own where customers’ taste buds had something they could latch onto.
Petra Greek’s name came about when John and his son Michael, 29, were picking out stone for the restaurant. Stone in Greek is pronounced Petra.
John, now 56-year-old, opened their first location in Downtown Sacramento in 2010 as a place guests could taste different flavors in a casual setting.
“It wasn’t anything special – just causal dining,” Michael said. “It was a place everyone could come and have no reason to get dressed up. Counter service, reasonably priced quality food – that’s what it was.”
John and Michael became a hard-working duo over the years and recently opened their second location in the Palladio, right here in Folsom.
When the Palladio was still an up-and-coming shopping center, Michael said they were interested in opening their second location there, but thought it was too much of a risk.
“There was really nothing around except the movie theater and Blue Nami, so we decided to pass on it,” Michael said. “Slowly as the years went by, we both loved the Folsom area and when more shops opened, we decided it was a good time to open here. We opened this location about 10 months ago.”
From tyropita to gyros, spanakopita to souvlaki, Petra Greek has it all – even hamburgers.
“We have beef and lamb, which is native to the United States, but what a lot of people don’t know, is back in Greece, there is only chicken and pork, so we have that too,” Michael said. “Hamburgers are very popular for us, not being a burger joint. We did that because at our downtown location, even if you’re not craving Greek food, you can still grab a burger as well.”
Michael said so far, the community response has been great and his favorite part is meeting new people.
“I have built relationships with a lot of people,” Michael said. “I see different people all the time and it’s nice to interact with others outside my comfort zone.”
John said he loves that he gets to share their Greek restaurant and food with others and get them familiar with the cuisine.
“We are one of the first to open a Greek restaurant and I’m very excited about it,” John said. “I’m using homemade recipes from my parents. I have heard a lot of comments from customers that they haven’t had Greek food like this – It’s better than Greece.”
Michael said he has heard the same response from their customers and he said it makes him happy to know that their food is on the same level as the food in Greece.
The Raptakis duo doesn’t have any plans to open another location just yet, but they said they do enjoy the Roseville area, and would see a future opening as a chance for everyone to love authentic Greek cuisine.