After attending culinary school, Lebanon-born Moussa Elmoussa decided to open a restaurant using Mediterranean recipes borrowed from the mother of his half-Grecian wife. More than 20 years later, he continues to prepare a menu made with nutritious, healthy ingredients such as lemon juice, chopped cucumbers, and low-fat yogurt from dieting cows. Chefs at all three locations carve kosher lamb, chicken, and beef for gyros, stuff grape leaves with rice, and ladle out housemade tzatziki sauce. Among other awards, Gyros House was named The Commons' Retailer of the Month in 2010 and Best Spirit in 2004, and was a Renton Reporter Best of Renton 2014 finalist. The community-focused restaurant also participates actively in and cares about the community, and has contributed to charities, marathons, school nights, and more.
The team behind Gino's Bistro keeps stomachs and hearts full at two locations. Whether visiting in Federal Way or Maple Valley, visitors who enter the restaurant find a romantic atmosphere, a list of painstakingly crafted cocktails, and a menu of upscale Italian cuisine. Besides gourmet pizzas and pastas, Gino's menu features steak and seafood dishes such as paella or scampi fresco, and even the appetizer menu offers a few deviations from tradition, including a popular drunken goat cheese starter. Every other Wednesday, live performers fill Gino's dining rooms with music, their melodies weaving between servers carrying bianco pizza pies and plates of pear ravioli. Meanwhile, in the lounge, couples and groups of friends exchange laughter as they share small plates and sip some of Gino's signature cocktails, which inject a little style into even everyday hangouts or low-key marriage proposals.
Made-from-scratch recipes and fresh ingredients have been setting The Original Pancake House apart from its breakfast-spot competition since 1953. That's when its owners established an all-day empire committed to ingredients such as pure hard-wheat unbleached flour and butter made from fresh sweet cream.
Today, The Original Pancake House cooks across the country still construct scrambles and omelets from fresh Grade AA eggs. Powdered sugar lines the rims of oven-baked dutch baby pancakes, and granny-smith apples simmer in oven-baked pancakes (two of more than a dozen styles of pancake on the menu). Even the toppings are made in-house, including whipped cream, specialty syrups, and sauces. To complement these flavors, staff fill cups with fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and coffee blended specially to match the Original Pancake House's menu and upholstery. Although each location takes on the local charm of its surrounding city, all of them share in common a homey atmosphere that welcomes families with perks such as color-in place mats and kids' menus.
Name aside, The Original Pancake House isn't just a breakfast spot—in fact, it stays open for three meals a day, or six if you follow most doctors' advice to take a small pancake break every few hours. The savory side of the menu holds meat-and-egg combos and savory crepes stuffed with cheese and veggies.
Spring Kitchen's menu showcases the chef's 20 years of experience making Vietnamese and other Asian dishes. The specialty pho broth might arrive quickly to the table, but it first undergoes hours of preparation for its delicious, savory taste. Other specialty dishes include grilled pork and shrimp over vermicelli noodles, plus stir-fried yakisoba noodles and grilled marinated beef short ribs with steamed rice. Kids 10 and younger can also eat for free on Tuesdays if they're dining in with an adult at this family-friendly restaurant.