March 20, 2014 Piperi
On Friday, the weather had let up, so I took a walk up to Piperi in Government Center. I had driven/walked by this place many times before, but never really had the chance to stop by. My real job keeps me pretty busy and most days, I’m lucky to get out of the office and jump across the street for lunch, let alone take a walk somewhere a little farther. But I’m glad that I had the opportunity to stop in last week, as the food was worth the wait!
Here’s what they have to say on their website: “Piperi Mediterranean Grill offers flavorful, nutritious, Mediterranean-inspired food available quickly, in an energizing atmosphere. We buy the freshest possible ingredients, cook in small batches, make our recipes from scratch and bake our unique gözi bread right on the premises—all to create food that’s bursting with flavor and nutrition. We know that great service makes a good meal even better. That’s why we’re committed to making every aspect of the experience at Piperi easy and enjoyable—so you leave feeling better than when you came in. Our team shares that commitment. We also take our role in the local and global community seriously, and are committed to making socially responsible purchasing decisions. Whenever possible, our produce is sourced from local suppliers and growers who employ sustainable practices.”
Like most places, Piperi (pronounced Pip-AIR-ee, which is Greek for peppercorn, one of the many spices they use) has a busy lunch hour. Even though the line is wrapped around the restaurant, it moves quickly.
There’s a different feeling in the air here. When I get up to order, the man behind the counter asks me how I am. He’s genuine – you can’t fake that. Then when I ask him how he is, he says with a warm smile, “great, glad that I get to serve you today”. He says it in a sincere way (not in the creepy way that you get at some places – you know what I’m talking about, when the creepy dude in an greasy tank top says it while flashing his gold tooth and winking at you). Right off the bat, Piperi, gold star on service! There is a sense of calm behind the counter (even during the rush), everyone knows what their job is on the line, and things run smoothly – it’s not stressful or rushed.
Wanting to try a bit of everything on the menu, I order the chicken gozi wrap. Gozi is their signature bread, used for all their sandwiches. It’s a modern interpretation of Gözleme, a traditional hand-rolled pastry from Turkey. This wrap has Moroccan carrots, tomato relish, feta, and a spicy tomato sauce. For $7, there are a ton of bold flavors in this wrap, and it tastes/feels like a much healthier option for lunch.
You can also create your own meal: Choose a wrap, a mezze plate or a salad. Pick your main ingredient: falafel ($6.50), chicken ($7), steak ($8) or vegetable ($7.50). Add up to 4 of their signature toppings or sauces: hummus, white bean tabouleh, Moroccan carrots, Feta cheese, cheddar, marinated olives, red cabbage slaw, tomato relish, yogurt cucumber sauce, tahini sauce or spicy tomato sauce. You can get extra falafel ($1.50), chicken ($2), vegetable ($2.50) or steak ($3).
I choose the mezze plate with chicken. I have to admit when I get burritos or chicken dishes at lunch, I usually expect the chicken to be dry and over cooked. Not here. The chicken was so juicy, tender and flavorful, I surprised myself by finishing it all. The carrots are also top notch, I love the flavor.
As we proceed to check out, I introduce myself to Tim, who I recognize from his photo on the website. I really respect a co-owner who is at the restaurant every day, working behind the counter along side everyone else. He hurt his ankle earlier in the morning, but is still here, crutches and all! We move off to the side, and he greets me with a warm smile and a handshake and thanks me for stopping in. We would both like to chat more, but I don’t want to take up his time during the rush. He tells me to stop in any time – he’d love to chat. I plan on taking him up on that!
Stop in the Piperi for lunch or dinner. They have generous portions and excellent service – you won’t be disappointed. Already been to Piperi? What’s your favorite menu item?
*Disclaimer, my meal was paid for by the BC Enactus club, but all opinions are my own.
1 Beacon Street, Boston, MA