Jimmy Albert opened the first Jimmy the Greek’s, a Greek-themed, hybrid restaurant, in Old Orchard Beach in 2008. A few years later, his second location opened out by the Maine Mall in South Portland.
From the outside, with its cliché Greek fortress-like entrance and tacky signage, you might not guess that this Greece-y hall wields brick oven pizzas, customer-favorite street tacos and boasts 53 rotating beers on tap.
“This is a place for a beer guru,” general manager Ethan Norcross said. “We’re always rotating the taps and bringing in different things for people to try from someplace new around the world.”
Norcross started out at the Old Orchard Beach location, where he says the concept for the restaurant is the same – both offer great selections of beer and an eclectic mix of quality food – but because of the major difference in location (one is near the beach and the other is in a mall parking lot), there are some inherent differences. For example, the 50-person patio at Jimmy the Greek’s in South Portland reports views of Old Navy and Forever 21, while the OOB location is just a four-minute drive to the beach and what Norcross says is “more of a beach atmosphere.”
With 53 beers on tap and a packed beer fridge full of bottles, the drink menu is almost as overwhelming as the food menu (anything from calzones to steak tips, tacos to six different types of burgers), but the bartenders encourage tasting unfamiliar beers. The “Fall Drink Menu” is a funky list of autumnal house made martinis and cocktails, including an elderflower hot toddy, a “spicy gingerbread” made with butterscotch schnapps, or the “s’mores” martini, which, you guessed it, includes a graham cracker rim.
Open year-round, Jimmy the Greek’s does an impressive job at finding new ways to get customers through the door. In addition to two trivia nights a week with great beer specials, there’s a members-only special on Sundays, live music and even a paint night on Wednesdays (check the website for specifics).
“We’re a very customer oriented place,” Norcross said. “I want everyone who comes in here to have the best experience.”
WHERE: 150 Philbrook Ave., South Portland
PHONE: 934-PIZZA (7499)
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
SPECIALS: Monday to Friday happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. with $3 select drafts and $5 food specials.
AMENITIES: 53 beers on tap, trivia nights, outdoor seating until it gets cold, candy dispenser, ample seating.
PARKING: Parking lot
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes
BOTTOM LINE: Jimmy the Greek’s in South Portland offers an impressive list of 53 rotating beers on tap and a packed beer fridge. The cocktails are seasonal and mildly inventive, the service is casual but friendly, and the atmosphere is fun, lively and worth checking out if you’re out by the mall and get a hankering for a good beer and decent food.