Not too many years ago, a fellow food writer joked to me that there were no good restaurants in Grand Prairie. How quickly things change.
Now the choices on offer are nearly overwhelming. Much of the Dallas area’s West African community is concentrated in the suburb. The new Asia Times Square food court bustles with energy. On Main Street in Grand Prairie’s historic downtown, Zavala’s Barbecue just made Texas Monthly’s vaunted list of the state’s top 50 barbecue joints.
Only two doors down from Zavala’s stands an unassuming newcomer: a shipping container in which Athens native Dimitrios Vagenas is cooking some of the region’s best Greek food.
His business, My Kuzina, is primarily a meal-prep and catering service with pickup and delivery options. But My Kuzina’s kitchen also has a service window overlooking the patio of FireHouse Gastro Park, so it was only a matter of time before somebody asked if they could stay for lunch. Now the window is open on weekdays at lunchtime and Saturdays at lunch and dinner.
Vagenas was born and raised in Athens and only arrived in the United States in 2014, to join his wife, Margarita Takou, who’d made the move a few years earlier to get her Ph.D.
“He was very interested in the kitchen, helping his mom and his grandmother cooking,” Takou says. “A lot of his talent, he took that talent from his mom and his grandmother.” (Vagenas is the executive chef and owner, but he shyly suggested we interview his wife instead because “she does the talking.”)
After a childhood cooking with family, he went professional as an adult, attending culinary school in Athens and working on the island of Paros. In Texas, he spent years in kitchens at Omni Hotels in Dallas and Irving before getting furloughed in March 2020.
As Vagenas spent the pandemic months at home, cooking for his growing family, the idea for a Greek meal prep business came into focus. Originally My Kuzina was meant to be a ghost kitchen, before the FireHouse location offered the potential for more.