Malelani Cafe, 6734 Germantown Ave.
George Drakopoulos, South African born of Greek descent, is behind this utterly charming but utterly spartan cafe in Mount Airy. There’s a community drop-in spirit (starting in midmorning for coffee), as well as frequent live music (open mic on Thursday) that extends the hours into the late evenings.
The menu includes platters of standards including shawarma, dolmas, gyro, and falafel, but you should be sure to stop when Drakopoulos offers moussaka, the rich, Greek version of shepherd's pie.
Get it as a platter ($15.50) with pickled cabbage and onions, tabbouleh, black bean hummus, tzatziki, pico de gallo, and a warm pita.
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.