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Two years ago, Greek-born restaurateur Terry Stamatakos moved from New York to Houston and started his food truck, Simply Greek. Based in the booming Houston neighborhood of Spring Branch, the truck traveled around the city, quickly acquiring a reputation among local foodies for its authentic gyros, falafel, and souvlaki platters. Within six months, the truck was besieged with customers at every stop, and Stamatakos was catering 200-person weddings. “We went downtown, we traveled around, but my base was Spring Branch,” Stamatakos said. “A lot of people encouraged me to open a restaurant here, so that’s what we decided to do.”

Last October, Stamatakos gave up the truck in favor of a restaurant in the heart of Spring Branch, at the corner of Blalock and Campbell, which he decorated with photographs of sun-drenched Greek islands and fishing nets hanging from the wall. The restaurant has proved to be every bit as popular as the food truck. On Friday and Saturday nights, it hosts belly dancing, accompanied on Saturday by a live band.

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Alongside the growth in home values is the growth in population—since 2010 Spring Branch has added almost 13,000 new residents, and is expected to continue to grow steadily. The number of single-family homes and apartments has grown from 39,600 to 44,700, with 42 new single-family subdivisions and 2,000 houses under development. So it’s no surprise that earlier this year Houstonia named Spring Branch one of Houston’s hottest neighborhoods, calling it “a destination both for luxury properties and affordable single-family ranchers and townhomes.”

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As for Stamatakos, he said he’s never been happier. “I love the people—everyone is so nice here. In New York, everybody’s in a rush. Here, they will stop and talk to you. Yes, it’s hot—but that’s better than snow!”

How can entrepreneurs and current Spring Branch businesses learn more about these opportunities? Start by visiting sbmd.org/business or give us a call! David Hawes, Executive Director, 713-595-1209 or dhawes@sbmd.org. Photography by EV1pro.com

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