People called Michael Dabour “mad” to open his Greek family’s first restaurant in Corona, Calif., practically the middle of nowhere in 1974. That gave him the name.
The process repeated in 1988, when Dabour expanded to an even more remote location — Baker, Calif. — with what eventually became a must-stop restaurant for many Southern California-bound Las Vegans.
Opening a Mad Greek Cafe in the middle of arguably the world’s best cuisine might be the maddest idea yet. But co-owner Larry Dabour, Michael’s son, says the family does a brisk business at 3049 Las Vegas Blvd. South because of a combination of name recognition, the nearby Convention Center and the joint’s unbeatable hours (24 per day, every day).
This location serves the same cuisine that has fueled many a four-hour drive southwest, although only 45 of Baker’s 300 menu options are available. The layout is much smaller, too, accommodating a maximum of 50 diners inside and outside. But the decor — modern stone walls and tile you’d expect to see in Summerlin — is more suggestive of the quality of food than Baker’s white-plastic/trash motif.
Reservations are not required.
Signature dish: Beef and lamb gyro sandwich, $9.95
Starters: Hummos, $5.95; eggplant salad, $5.95; fried zucchini, $5.95
Salads: Greek salad, $5.95 and $8.95; calamari salad, $11.95; chicken gyro salad, $11.95
Entrees: Lamb chop plate, $14.95; combo plate, $14.95; gyro plate, $12.95
Desserts: Baklava, $2.25; fresh fruit, $4.50; yogurt with nuts and honey, $3.50
— By COREY LEVITAN