The Mediterranean bistro that has long served Lincoln Center residents opened a second location this year for many reasons, amongst those to cater to a new clientele with the same proven menu of high-end yet casual cuisine. The differences between the two spaces—the Lodi location built at the corner of Lockeford and School streets—is in style and design. The Lodi restaurant is small but mighty—not the grandiose building with multiple meeting spaces you may be accustomed to. Instead, the vibe is more intimate, focused on family dining, without skimping on experience. An outdoor patio, cozy tables, and bar stools allow for multiple dining options and spaces much like the Stockton restaurant.
Ultimately, if you’re coming in to dine at Papapavlo’s in Lodi, expect the same cuisine as the flagship location in Stockton; the menu is identical for dine-in service, where the focus is on hearty steaks, fresh seafood, and lighter soups and salads. Owners (and husband-wife team) Andy and Jennifer Papas make it possible by splitting time managing each business. The goal, eventually, is to expand the Lodi building into a larger restaurant, but currently two other shops rent out space in the building—Trail Coffee Roasters and a mortgage company.
We have long loved coming to Papapavlo’s to catch up with friends over shareable plates. The truth is the menu here is gargantuan—a long list of mouthwatering dishes sure to send you over-ordering. “We have a lot of diversity with our menu,” Andy says. The Apple & Brie Triangles are buttery and flaky all at once, made with filo dough and stuffed with sauteed apples and triple cream brie, good enough to eat as dessert. The Grilled Artichoke is also done well, all crispy edges and soft insides made for dipping in the provided remoulade. Traditional Mediterranean appetizers include Mushroom Triangles (mushroom pitas), Stuffed Grape Leaves (dolmathes), and Flaming Cheese (saganaki) served tableside and on fire. For dinner, Andy is a fan of the stellar steak selection. The menu features ribeyes, porterhouses, filet mignons, and more, topped with melted bleu cheese butter, portobello mushroom merlot demi glaze, or Cold Water Maine lobster tail. A full rack of lamb is decadence on a plate, while Calamari Steak and Pistachio Crusted Salmon play to the chefs’ strengths.
If you want to truly indulge in the culture, order a brochette—a skewer typically donning chunks of grilled meat. Served with rice pilaf, vegetables, pita bread, and soup or salad, the centerpiece is skewered zucchini with red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, and charbroiled onions; marinated angus sirloin with onion and bell peppers; a lean leg of lamb accompanied by onion and mushroom; mahi mahi rich in flavors of lemon, olive oil, and oregano; or five marinated prawns skewered with onion and red bell pepper.
While dining in for a casual meal is the easiest way to enjoy Andy and Jennifer’s fare, it’s not the only way. A secret menu is unlocked when you choose to cater an event—large or small—perfect for the holiday season. “We cater everything on the menu,” Andy says. However, he mentions some appetizers that aren’t available for dine in to compliment events well, such as antipasta platters, fresh veggies, and fruit and cheese plates. “We have numerous menus online.”
The best part is if you have a favorite dish from the Papapavlo’s menu, it’s available for catering; there’s nothing on the menu you can’t get for a party, even the large steaks Andy says are a must.
217 N. School St., Lodi