When diners order a burger at Opa, they’re liable to be confused. There’s the bun, the tomato, the lettuce—and no meat in sight. Right before befuddled diners can flag down their server, a grinning Chef Andreas emerges from the kitchen with their meat, sets it aflame souvlaki-style at the table, and drapes the sizzling disk atop the diner’s bare bun. “I like to make people happy. It’s what I do,” explains Andreas, who jumps at any opportunity to surprise and delight guests in his dining room. His commitment to creating a welcoming atmosphere has earned the chef praise from Tucson Weekly, as well a spot on Tucson Lifestyle ’s Best of 2011 restaurant list.
Though the prolific restaurateur has opened 74 eateries across the country, he eventually wearied of the anonymity in running more corporate establishments. Now, Chef Andreas shares his heritage instead—murals of the island of Santorini grace restaurant walls, Greek music flows through the dining room all day, and family recipes inspire the flame-kissed spiced meats that seem to pour out of the kitchen like a faucet with a water vendetta. Though Greek traditions are evident in his food, Chef Andreas also tunes in to customer requests, now preparing many gluten-free and low-carb platters to honor the wishes of his guests.