In southeastern Fountain Valley--where Euclid St., Talbert Ave. and Newhope St. collide--there are enough places to eat that you probably could dine at a different place every day of the month.
Competition is fierce for restaurant and fast-food owners, especially at a time when families and individuals are spending less and expecting more when they go out for a bite to eat.
Yet that doesn't seem to worry Dimetri Alexandrou, one of the newest owners in the triangle of food stops with his trendy cuisine called City Grill.
"Competition is good. I definitely don't mind competition," said Alexandrou, who opened his restaurant about six weeks ago. "There are a lot of businesses around here so I think there is enough (customers) for everybody. I know there are a lot of restaurants, but there also are a lot of people."
As you walk it you will notice that City Grill is bright and airy. The interior is painted in oranges and golds, and a shiny, modern-looking counter where you order has a huge purple and lime colored menu above it that lists an extensive variety of food styles. They range from new and traditional American burgers, hot dogs and fries to Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Turkish sandwiches.
Of course the specialty of the house is the Greek Moussaka, at $7.95.
"There is already Greek food here and a Mexican restaurant next door so I didn't want to do that," Alexandrou said. "Moussaka is the only thing Greek that I have. It is my mother's recipe. I made it one day and everyone liked it so I kept it on the menu."
Alexandrou isn't new to the food service industry. Twenty years ago he owned a restaurant. He gave it up to work in another industry, but when that began to sour a few years ago he decided to give his old passion another try.
For two years, the Aliso Viejo resident looked for the right location. He began looking in Fountain Valley at about the same time, and nearly made an offer on the building where McDonald's now stands, but he was a week too late.
Finally, a few months ago, Alexandrou's broker called about a Vietnamese restaurant that had just closed and convinced him to take a look. It didn't take long for the deal to be consumated.
"When somebody put a down payment on the place across the street where McDonald's now is I was disappointed," Alexandrou said. "But it's kind of funny. I knew the area and I ended up back here. It just took a little longer."
City Grill is a family business. Dimetri's son Evan and daughter Allyson also work at the eatery nearly every day. In fact, he credits his daughter for getting the business, which he financed personally, ready to open in just a couple months.
"If it wasn't for Ally it would have been very, very difficult to start again," he said. "This is something I wanted to give to them both, but it's hard work. That's why I'm here every day."
Asked what his goals are for the business, Alexandrou said he doesn't want to look too far ahead. The present is challenging enough.
"The biggest goal I could have right now is that everybody who leaves here is happy," he said. "We want everyone to come back here again and again."
City Grill is located at 18010 Newhope St., Suite C, in Fountain Valley. Phone: 714-979-1500. Hours: Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sun 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Website: http://eatatcitygrill.com.