Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Le Petit Greek to Close in December, Will Open Greek Eats in January

Dancing since 1988, Dimitri and Nora Houndalas are closing Le Petit Greek on Larchmont after 34 years.

After more than three decades on Larchmont, Le Petit Greek is closing its doors at the end of the month. Fortunately, all is not lost for those who love them and their food. Owners Dimitri and Nora Houndalas will open Greek Eats, a new fast casual-style restaurant not far away on Third Street in Mid-City on January 6, 2024.

Le Petit Greek opened on Larchmont in May 1988. Founded by Thomas Houndalas, Dimitri’s older brother who had always wanted to open a restaurant in Los Angeles. At the time, Thomas lived in the neighborhood in the famed Van Nuys mansion with his first wife, opera singer and voice coach Joan Zajac whom he met while living in London. Thomas earned a degree in hospitality and worked for a time as maître d’hôtel at downtown’s Jonathan Club. Like so many business owners who live in the neighborhood, he would walk to Larchmont and one day he decided the street could use a nice restaurant.

The next year, he urged his brother Dimitri, who was leaving the Greek military, to join him. Dimitri was a bodybuilder in Greece but decided he would come to work with his brother, a continuation of the family tradition if you will. The brothers grew up in the restaurant business. Their family operated restaurants in their hometown in Greece. Three brothers came to San Francisco in 1901. They opened the Cliff Cafe, then operated the prestigious Cliff House in San Francisco for nearly 50 years as well as Louis Cafe named after a great uncle who came to America with their grandfather Thomas.

Shortly after Dimitri arrived, he met Nora, through his brother’s introduction. They married and soon, Nora and Dimitri were operating Le Petit Greek while Thomas opened another Le Petit Greek in the Beverly Connection. These days you can find Thomas operating Le Petit Greek Hotel in Santorini, Greece.

“Thomas gave birth to Le Petit Greek but I raised it,” said Dimitri. “Over the years, we expanded the restaurant taking the space next door. It was filled with families celebrating life events. We have seen three generations of customers grow up coming to the restaurant.”

“Our customers keep us going so it’s going to be very emotional but we are going out on a high note and moving on to something new,” Nora and Dimitri Houndalas told the Buzz.

“In recent years, I could see the business changing and moving toward fast-casual restaurants and away from sit-down restaurants, ” explained Dimitri. “In 2019, I decided to give up the extra space and go back to our original footprint.”

And then came the pandemic. The Houndalas family are no strangers to hard work and the ups and downs of the restaurant business but nothing prepared them for the challenges they would face during the pandemic.

“No one has any idea of how stressful it was,” said Dimitri, who never stopped working during the pandemic. When the restaurant was closed, he was making deliveries for customers who wanted to support the restaurant. However, it was very challenging to transition their menu and staff to a take-out operation. When they were finally able to re-open, he told us he was just grateful that he had made it through without getting sick or losing his employees.

“I never gave up,” said Dimitri, “In the military, we are taught that you never surrender!”

Instead, Dimitri decided to change gears even though the restaurant has been steadily recovering and improving each year. The new concept will feature many of the same dishes, but it will be simpler to run and less expensive to operate, and maybe, less work, though the restaurant business is still hard work.

“We will still have the same high-quality, healthy food and we will also offer catering,” said Dimitri.

Nora, who is an acupuncturist and has always worked the back of the house, is looking forward to having her husband back.

“It’s been 35 years, 7 months, and 7 days,” calculated Nora. “We started so young, we grew up in the business. If we were thirty, we would stay and reinvent Larchmont but this makes more sense for us and our family. My son Nico, now 22, is looking forward to having his dad around a little more.”

“We are one of the last of the family-run restaurants remaining on the street, so it’s with a heavy heart that we are letting go of this location,” said Dimitri. “We are a part of the community. Our customers keep us going so it’s going to be very emotional but we are going out on a high note and moving on to something new.”

The new restaurant, Greek Eats is located at 8236 West 3rd Street and is scheduled to open around January 6, 2024.

So stop in and say goodbye to Larchmont before they close and then we will see you at Greek Eats in the new year.

Greek Eats will open in early January at 8236 West 3rd Street. (photo from Nora Houndalas)
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. That’s terrible news for us, but I’m very happy for Dmitri and his family.

    Who knew he was a bodybuilder?

    Thanks for the great foods and memories.

  2. What a beautiful article about a beautiful and wonderful family. My son is also 22 and a few years ago when he ventured from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles for a jujitsu seminar, Dimitri and Hanorah kept him well fed and taken care of at The Petit Greek. All the best and continued success as you transform to Greek Eats.
    We love you guys


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