Last Saturday night began like a night unfamiliar to the stereotypical blogger - I took my girlfriend out to dinner for her birthday. I chose a Greek place called Papadakis Taverna, which I was vaguely aware had some football connections. The owner's son is Petros Papadakis, former USC tailback and announcer extraordinaire for a variety of LA sports and radio shows. He's also the host of Spike's "Pros v. Joes." By the end of the night, it became a night worthy of a sports blog.
That's because Petros Papadakis was our waiter. The glory and shock of it all went right over my girlfriend's head. "Petros who?" she wondered. But being served by Petros was truly a glorious affair. Yes, he's as brash and entertaining as he is on the radio and tv. It was fun to watch.
Like he must have done 1,000 times before, Petros acted as our waiter. He brought out the tray of meat, he danced with the rest of the waiters, he lighted the cheese on fire, and he showed off his big mouth.
"How's the lamb?" Petros asked us after bringing out our meals. "I sucked the fat right out of it myself!"This could easily turn into a hit-job on Petros. Yet there's no reason to be mean. I'd guess he doesn't do it for the money - he probably doesn't need it. And I don't know how often he does it. But more than anything it was touching to see him there. Petros has made it in many ways, he's all over SoCal radio and TV. Yet he hasn't turned his back on his family. He's not too good to wait tables any more. He was there alongside the rest of the Papadakis clan, taking part in the family business. It was more a definition of what it means to be family than anything else. You used to hear about family restaurants, but this one was here in the flesh.
The meal and the entire experience was tremendous. Have you ever eaten at a place that had a belly dancer, violin player, opera singer, and tap dancer all as entertainment? You can find it at Papadakis. Most importantly, my girlfriend had a great time. That's the most important thing - Petros or no Petros.
While I'm at it - Hey Petros! How'd you like that tip I left you?