I was in Jefferson City, MO earlier this summer calling on one of my dealers. It was getting to be around 2 p.m. and my dealer said that he hadn't had lunch yet. I hadn't either, so I suggested we go somewhere for a bite to eat. He immediately said, "Let's go to the Bistro." We got into my car and he directed me to a small strip mall near the downtown area of Jeff City. When we pulled up in front of the place, I exclaimed, "Oh! This is Arris' Bistro!" I was familiar with the place as it is owned by the same people who owns the very good Arris' Pizza Palace across from the Missouri State Capitol building. (Click here to see my entry on Arris' Pizza Palace.) I was eager to go inside and give the place a try.
Arris Pardalos is the "Arris" name associated with both the Arris' Bistro and Arris' Pizza Palace. A Greek immigrant, Arris opened his first pizza place in Jefferson City in the early 1960's. He was helped initially by his brother George, but the two split up when George went off to open a steakhouse. A little over 10 years ago, Arris Pardalos was joined by his son, George in Arris' Pizza Palace. George and his wife, Olga, eventually bought Arris' from his dad.
George and Olga wanted to bring a bit of southern Europe to Jefferson City in the style of a bistro that featured Mediterranean cuisine, primarily Greek and Italian dishes. In March of 2009, the Pardalos' opened Arris' Bistro. It quickly became a favorite for the locals to get a quality and unique meal for lunch and dinner.
Arris' Bistro is located in the corner of a small strip mall on a frontage road on the west side of U.S. Highway 50, just north of Broadway near the downtown area of Jeff City. (see map) We easily found a parking spot in front as it was well after the noontime rush.
The restaurant is very hip-looking with LED lighting, modern-style tables and chairs, contemporary artwork and sort of a big-city lounge vibe to the place. There was hardly anyone in Arris' Bistro when we walked in, so the hostess told us we could sit anywhere. Our server, Floriana, came over to greet us and dropped off a couple menus. She asked if we wanted anything to drink and we both thought a beer would be good with lunch. She didn't have a beer list handy, so I walked over to the bar to see what they had on tap. One of the beers they had was the Piney River Missouri Mule IPA from a relatively new, but quickly growing microbrewery in southern Missouri. I got one of those and my dealer followed suit.
The menu at Arris' Bistro is a cross between Greek and Italian fare with probably more of a Greek take on the appetizers, while most of the lunch time entrees have a decided Italian flair to them. They have a dozen different types of salads on the menu, along with a number of pita bread pizzas merging Greek and Italian food into one. But my dealer was raving about the sandwiches at Arris' Bistro - they have pita sandwiches and wraps, burgers and panini sandwiches. After 5 p.m. the menu expands into steak, seafood and chicken entrees.
My dealer absolutely swore by the BLT that Arris' Bistro had on the menu. It's a regular bacon/lettuce/tomato sandwich where they've also added fresh mozzarella cheese, except that he's come up with a couple of different twists - he asked Floriana to use French bread for the sandwich and to also put avocado slices on top. He says that those are the two keys making it an excellent sandwich from merely a great one. He got a side of the broccoli salad to go with the sandwich.
I got the classic gyro - I love a good gyro and I was certain that they'd have a good one at Arris' Bistro. And I was right. The gyro meat was tasty and not all that salty, the sliced onions and the chopped tomatoes were very fresh. Along with the tangy house-made tzatziki, this was a very good gyro.
Floriana also did a good job of taking care of us. She had a thick Eastern-European accent and my dealer asked her where she was from. "Romania," she said. Other than the thick accent, she spoke English very well. She was pleasant and quickly accommodating with our requests.
I sort of figured that Arris' Bistro was going to be good and it didn't disappoint. The gyro was very good, but I was also intrigued by the BLT with avocado on French bread that my dealer had. Floriana's service was very good and the place had a unique and comfortable vibe. As much as I liked Arris' Pizza Palace on my visit there, I equally enjoyed the meal I had at Arris' Bistro.