With all the new chain restaurants opening up around Dubuque, it’s easy to forget about the local gems that have existed here for a while. As college students, we only have four(-plus) years here, so why not try something off the beaten track? Dubuque offers a lot of fun places to eat, but if you’re looking for something ethnic, that’s a little more difficult to find. Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, and Chipotle are all great but they’re not anything special. So if you’re craving something that’ll take your taste buds on an adventure halfway across the world, The Corner Grill is for you!
I was first introduced to this tiny little restaurant by my roommate. She went on the Greece trip over J-term, and her class wanted to try some Greek food before they actually traveled there. So their professor took them to The Corner Grill, an authentic Greek restaurant on the corner of Elm and 17th Street in downtown Dubuque. She had only good things to say about it, and so I was inspired to take my mom there when she was in town. And let me tell you, we were not disappointed!
Admittedly, I was a little skeptical when we first pulled up to the restaurant. It really doesn’t look like much on the outside, and the fact that it’s located in the middle of a neighborhood makes it less frequented by Dubuquers who frequent restaurants. But we went in anyway and were greeted warmly by the owner, Yanni Karavergos, a native Greek who came to America when he was sixteen. Before we even ordered our food, Mr. Karavergos talked openly about his Greek roots and how he got to be where he is today. He was personable, funny, and very dedicated to his business. His story is incredible, but I won’t spoil everything he told us — you’ll just have to go in and talk to him yourself!
So, what do you order at The Corner Grill? Obviously it’s a Greek-style restaurant, so they have plenty of authentic Greek dishes. My mom and I did not shy away from a full meal, complete with an appetizer, entrees, sides, and dessert. For the appetizer, we tried spanakopita, which is cooked spinach wrapped in filo dough. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone, especially someone who wants to try something authentically Greek. When it came to the entrees, my mom had never had a gyro before so naturally, I ordered them for both of us. I’m a big fan of gyros, so I know that the ones at The Corner Grill were amazing. They’re also very reasonably priced: less than $6 for a ginormous gyro that I could barely finish in one sitting (And as a long-distance runner who eats like a teenage boy, that’s saying a lot). We added on two sides to our gyros: Greek pasta salad and a feta-and-olive salad. Both were delicious. For the desert, we weren’t sure what to get, so Mr. Karavergos said he would bring out something to surprise us. I have no idea what he brought, although it looked suspiciously like a combination of baklava and rice pudding with chocolate syrup drizzled over the whole sugar-laden ordeal. Whatever it was, I highly recommend it.
Moral of the story: true authentic Greek food is hard to find wherever you go. That’s why I was so excited to find this gem of a restaurant, and will definitely be back in the near future! So next time you’re looking for a place to eat, make sure you’re supporting local businesses and head to The Corner Grill to try Mr. Karavergos’ delicious Greek food.