The Scene

To Steki, McHenry’s new Greek-American restaurant, aims to be local hangout

Greek and American food now available on Main Street

The building that houses To Steki - a Greek word meaning "gathering place" - dates to the early 1900s, according to restaurant co-owner and cook Pete Tzimpas.

Pete Tzimpas has been working in kitchens and restaurants since he was 13, and for 35 years he was the cook at another McHenry restaurant that his family ran.

But when the former Main Street Cafe at 3918 Main St. became available, it seemed like the perfect time to open a Greek restaurant in McHenry, To Steki.

Steki, explained business manager Heidi Jorudd, is the Greek word for “hanging out.” That is what they want their customers to do, said Tzimpas – hang out with friends, eat Greek or American foods and enjoy the experience that proprietors are offering at the restaurant.

It’s a friendship that brought the restaurant to realization.

“My husband and [Tzimpas] have been friends since even before I met my husband – 30-plus years,” Jorudd said.

She and her husband, with another person, own the building.

What was an alleyway at 3918 Main Street, McHenry, is in the process of becoming a patio for To Steki, a Greek-and-American restaurant which held it grand opening on May 1, 2024.

When their previous tenants, owners of the Main Street Cafe, decided that they were ready to move on, Tzimpas’ family also was ready to retire and sell Alex’s Restaurant, Jorudd said.

“All of this was happening at the same time, just as we had a restaurant space opening up,” she said.

To prepare for the change to a Greek eatery, the space – which dates from the early 1900s – was completely built out for a bar-and-restaurant feel, Jorudd said. The work started in July.

“We redid the whole kitchen, took out a breakfast bar, put in new flooring and moved a bathroom” to give the space a separate gaming area, she said.

They also worked with the city and the building owner next door to repurpose an alley between them to become an outdoor seating area for To Steki. The patio still is under construction.

The menu is a bit under construction, too, as Tzimpas is bringing more Greek food to the offerings.

“We have Greek-inspired classics” now, Tzimpas said, including stuffed grape leaves, Greek sausage, gyros, souvlaki, humus and feta cheese served four ways.

The menu also includes American basics: burgers and fries, Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef and other mainstays, Tzimpas said.

Pete Tzimpas shaves gyro meat in the kitchen at To Steki on Friday, May 10, 2024. The McHenry restaurant features Greek and American foods.

Plans are to continue adding more Greek-inspired foods to the menu, but he also needs to find a second cook.

“We are limited by the kitchen personnel,” Tzimpas said, adding that since the soft opening in April, he’s been working from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

But if people want more Greek options, “we will gladly add them to the menu,” Tzimpas said.

Because To Steki needs a second chef, operator are not currently serving food Sundays and Mondays, but the bar is open.

“We need to be able to train another cook when Pete is not there,” Jorudd said.

What he hopes diners at To Sketi find is a European feel – both in the flavors offered and a desire to stay longer and enjoy small plates of shared food with friends, Tzimpas said.

Janelle Walker

Janelle Walker

Originally from North Dakota, Janelle covered the suburbs and collar counties for nearly 20 years before taking a career break to work in content marketing. She is excited to be back in the newsroom.