The Cavalier Daily
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Cafe Europa expands Greek scene to Corner

For the time-strapped, midterm-taking diner seeking a take-out restaurant lacking in the usual greasy fare, Cafe Europa fits the bill.

Featuring a menu of varied and healthy delights, Cafe Europa serves up a variety of Mediterranean-influenced, mouth-watering sandwiches, soups and salads, all of which are easy to enjoy while reading a book or cramming for an exam. And, open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8a.m. to 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 9p.m., respectively, Cafe Europa offers patrons the option of dining in, taking out or ordering a boxed lunch package to-go at all meal times.

Located on Main Street on the Corner just past the 14th Street traffic light, Cafe Europa is accessible from the University by foot and for the library-confined student, it is closer than O-Hill, and has far better food.

Upon entering Cafe Europa, it is no surprise to learn why many of the clientele are regulars. While plain and impersonal on the outside, the inside bustles with eager eaters and the hearty laugh and kind demeanor of the owner, Fotif Vavelidis, who takes down orders at the counter as he makes faces, remembering those who frequent his cafe and welcoming those who are new.

As far as the food is concerned, the menu is extensive. While standing in line to place an order, the diner is confronted with many mouth-watering choices. For the hearty diner, there is the cafe special, homemade moussaka which, for $4.25, consists of baked eggplant and potatoes, a delicious herbed meat sauce and bechamel sauce. Another house special, chicken souvlaki is very popular with regulars. For $4.25, it combines tender marinated chicken with lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt, cucumber and garlic sauce) all within the envelope of a warm pita. Equally filling and delicious are the sandwich possibilities, which seem to come in every combination imaginable.

For vegetarians, the Mediterranean ($3.85), a mozzarella, basil and tomato sandwich brushed with olive oil and served between two flaky chunks of French baguette, is simple yet delicious, akin in flavor to a pure, fresh pizza. Also excellent for vegetarians is the portabello sandwich ($4.95). Comprised of strips of portabello mushrooms, tomato, onions, sprouts and mayonnaise, this sandwich also comes on a baguette and is a delight to the palate in both taste and freshness.

Meat lovers of all kinds also will find appealing sandwich selections at Cafe Europa. They can choose from options such as the Londoner, made of roast beef, havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato and English mustard on a croissant ($4.65); the Parisian, which exquisitely blends smoked turkey, brie, tomato and honey mustard on the bed of a croissant ($4.65); and the Venetian, which brings together cappicola ham, genoa salami, provolone cheese, hot peppers, red roasted peppers, lettuce, tomato, olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano all on a warm, crispy baguette ($4.95).

All sandwiches come with Cafe Europa's homemade red potato salad which, in its light flavor and generous portion, complements any sandwich selection. Comprised of thin slices of red potatoes, dill, vinaigrette and a touch of thyme, the potato salad is uniquely European, and a far cry from traditional mayonnaise-based American versions. The other salads at Cafe Europa are prepared equally well and can be ordered as a main dish or as a side order. Such salads include the tomato basil, Greek and tortellini salad. These salads cost between $3 and $4 and come with fresh French bread.

Cafe Europa, with its enticing aromas and diner-like atmosphere, is a nice place to escape to on a chilly evening to warm one's spirits. With extensive coffee selections and daily homemade soups, Cafe Europa never leaves its patrons out in the cold.

Particularly delicious is the restaurant's tomato basil soup. Warm, thick and creamy this soup soothes the throat and excites the taste buds with its subtle blend of tomato and spices. Available in bowl ($2.25) or cup ($1.70) portions, it is accompanied by a thick hunk of French bread and also can be purchased as a side for a salad.

Also delightful to the sense are Cafe Europa's desserts. Baked on the premises, Cafe Europa always features 2 or 3 daily dessert specialties in addition to their selection of fresh croissants, French bread and muffins. Of particular note for those with a sweet tooth are the baklava and the apple crumb pie. Composed of delicate flakes of filo pastry filled with nut paste and honey, Cafe Europa's baklava melts in your mouth.

Equally outstanding, the apple crumb pie consists of thick layered slices of cinnamon-accented apples and a crumble topping upon a spiced graham cracker crust.

Regardless of whether one comes to Cafe Europa for a nice, evening bite or for a meal on the run, the diner will be treated to world-class Mediterranean delights and a Greek scene that invites all - black pants optional.

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