The food is honest and the prices are reasonable at Zippy's Ba-Ba's. 

Homemade by Mom

Anybody who drives North Boulevard with any frequency knows Zippy's Ba-Ba's. The building between the Interstate 95 ramp and Westwood Avenue, long a watering hole before Zippy moved in, seems like a Fan eatery, except it's bigger than most of them and the pressed-tin ceiling may be even higher. Or you may think that it is merely a bar that serves food. But at this juncture, at least, food seems to be on equal footing with the libations at Zippy's.

Those libations are worth taking time to consider. If you enjoy tasting beer, you'll probably find a new one, or surely a favorite one, among the three-dozen or so that are offered. There are at least 10 on tap and many imports from Europe. There's a more modest wine list that includes three Greek wines, dubbed as "house."

The attitude of the servers often reveals how serious a place is about its food. We were impressed that our server for dinner made no assumptions that we were there to drink away the evening, and incidentally nibble and munch. He was amiable, attentive and solicitous, and Zippy himself came by to speak and ask about our dinner. It's these gestures that make us want to go back to a place, particularly if the food measures up.

The menus for lunch and dinner are brief, unpretentious and of good value, equally divided between American and Greek favorites. Roast lamb with potatoes, green beans with a crumble of feta cheese, a Greek-style salad and hot rolls, all for $9.99 — that's a deal these days. Linguine mixed with feta, Parmesan and a garlic-butter sauce is $7.99 and includes a salad. A grilled chicken kabob adds a weightier touch for an additional $2.

Gyro with lamb is almost an exception these days, and Zippy's knife and fork version is almost a meal in itself. Served on warm pita bread with the usual accouterments of lettuce, tomato, onion, feta and dressing, the lamb was tender and moist. Add fries and a salad ($9.99), and you've got a filling lunch or supper. Other sandwiches include several versions of chicken breast, a vegetable kebob, and, of course, American burgers and chili dogs.

Zippy's salads are either pasta ($2.75-$7.99) or Greek-style ($2.99-$7.99) with variations and add-ons. Optional chicken plays heavily in both versions.

For dessert, we had a wedge of lemon cake with lemon glaze and a diamond of baklava — pleasant conclusions at old-fashioned prices.

The food at Zippy's Ba-Ba's is homemade and honest, and, with Zippy's mom in the kitchen, it'll probably stay that way. Zippy's hasn't aimed for the culinary stars, but it's providing affordable and decent food nicely placed between predictable and ubiquitous fast-food and upscale restaurants. And you should get a kick out of the menu's editorial comments.


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