What’s good here?
Don’t let the name fool you.
Yes, Bellis House of Pizza is mainly known for its fresh specialty pizzas – such as the Mediterranean, topped with eggplant, garlic, Kalamata olives, tomato slices, spinach and feta on an olive oil base – but the restaurant also serves up primo Greek and Italian dishes such as spanakopita and veal parmigiana.
“Probably the most popular dish, second to our pizzas, is our gyro platter,” said Bellis owner/manager Tryfon Chatzopoulos.
The platter is served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce, a house salad and a choice of Greek potatoes, steak fries, rice or grilled veggies. But it may be the side of homemade Greek dressing that boosts the dish’s popularity.
“We make the dressing in-house,” Chatzopoulos said. “It’s a family recipe that has been used for decades. We have people come in, and they ask for the dressing and a basket of crackers while they wait for their meal. A lot of people put it on pizza, too. They’ll just get a slice and put some house dressing on top of it.”
Diners can also choose from a pork chop dinner, lasagna and even a rib-eye steak or, for lighter fare, select a hot oven sub or chicken souvlaki sandwich. Bellis also sells its share of calamari appetizers – made fresh in-house daily – and grilled beef tips salads.
But the 13 specialty pizzas on the menu may be hard to overlook. In addition to the Mediterranean, Bellis features a popular house special supreme, a Tuscan with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, a Grecco with gyro, feta, spinach and fresh tomato slices, and a Kota with grilled chicken, spinach and garlic.
The pizzas of choice for younger patrons are Buffalo and barbecue chicken.
“The younger diners tend to go with the spicier choices,” Chatzopoulos said.
How did Bellis get its start?
While Bellis House of Pizza is just over a year old, Chatzopoulos and his wife, Suzie, are not newcomers to the restaurant business. When Chatzopoulos moved to the United States from Greece in 1996 he worked for his uncle’s restaurant in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Suzie’s parents, Phil and Eleni Haftoglou, owned and operated a restaurant for nearly 30 years in Orangeburg called House of Pizza. After meeting and marrying Suzie, Chatzopoulos began working in that restaurant before the couple set out to open their own restaurant, Bellis, in Summerville in 2004.
After selling the Orangeburg restaurant and, soon after, the Summerville restaurant, Chatzopoulos and his wife moved to Lexington to be near family and opened Bellis House of Pizza, naming it in honor of both previous establishments.
Who eats here?
While Bellis certainly caters to families (the kids’ menu features $5 meals), it also sees its fair share of couples on date nights. Plus, its location in the ever-busy Publix-anchored shopping center at the corner of U.S. 378 and Old Cherokee Road makes it the perfect spot for professionals looking for a sit-down lunch option, as well as for shoppers looking to pick up a meal that is anything but fast food to take home.
Bellis House of Pizza is at 100 Old Cherokee Road, Lexington.
PRICES: Large specialty pizzas average $18; subs and salads are $5.95; entrees range from $11.95 to $16.95.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; closed Sundays.
INFO: (803) 356-9734 or www.bellishouseofpizza.com.
Janet Jones Kendall, Special to Go Columbia
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