Gone are the Corinthian pillars and arches. The busts of Grecian notables have been replaced by photos of Boston notables: Red Sox and Patriots players. Murals from ancient Greece have been replaced by scenes of Roslindale: the bus stop on Washington Street, Sacred Heart Church, the Village Market, and a huge "Welcome to Roslindale" photo.
The former Cafe Apollonia has been gutted and replaced with an all-American restaurant and bar that features Manny and Papi on TV and dozens of burgers, pizzas, and entrees on its menu.
All four owners of the Boston Brickhouse, two father-son teams, live in Roslindale. Marlon Hysi and his father, Dritan, owned Cafe Apollonia, which we loved. But restaurants tend to have a season, and it was time for a change. So the Hysis went in with their friends Julio Montolio Jr. and his father, Julio Sr., and opened the Boston Brickhouse, a casual something-for-everyone place.
The partners added 16-foot ceilings and -- on the bar side -- hardwood floors and a 120-inch TV. To be sure, there are still vestiges of the Mediterranean to be found, lurking on the menu between the nachos and wings, the steak tips and ribs. Start with the Yogurt Lovers ($6.75), which morphed from the liptao offered at the old place. It's refreshing on a hot summer night, a cool and tangy homemade yogurt sauce mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, basil, and diced cucumber, served with grilled, buttered pita for scooping (we could have used more bread). The Tuscan roasted pepper dip ($6.95) also has a Greek accent: The red and green peppers are sauteed and mixed with feta cheese and basil and infused olive oil.
The eggplant casserole ($15) is actually moussaka, layers of soft, grilled baby eggplant and zucchini alternating with a custardy bechamel sauce and ground beef.
But it's probably the familiar standbys that have kept the place hopping since it opened six months ago. There are 95 dishes, including 21 kinds of burgers -- all of them $8.50 -- served on a toasted roll with steak fries, homemade coleslaw, and lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, and homemade pickles. The Welcome to the Charles burger was to die for: an oversized patty cooked medium rare, as ordered, and topped with hickory smoked bacon, blue cheese, and onion crisps. With the veggie garnishes, it comprised all the food groups and tasted as if it had been lifted right off the grill.
The Will Smith Philly Cheese burger was more a steak sandwich, smothered with sauteed mushrooms, loads of caramelized onions, and peppers and covered with a generous slab of Swiss cheese.
The Boston Brickhouse is a great place to come for a burger and a beer -- there are six on tap and 15 in the bottle. Or for pizza: There are a dozen "gourmet" kinds, or you can mix and match to create your own favorite, from a small personal pie to an 18-incher. We tried the Meat Lovers (large $13.95), with Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, and linguica. But it was more like a Meat Likers; the toppings were not overwhelming.
The fish and chips ($12.95) was a good choice, fresh and lightly battered and served with a kicky homemade tartar sauce. If it's pasta you want, try the chicken fettuccine Alfredo ($12.95), a light garlicky sauce that showcases tender grilled chicken. The Boston Brickhouse has been packing them in, and the quality of the service, unfortunately, has not kept up with the quality of the food. One night, we finally left our table and went to the bar to order our drinks. Certain dishes had already sold out early in the evening, and our friendly but frazzled waiter failed to clear appetizer dishes before bringing entrees.
But the owners have big plans for adding another 20 dishes and 21 smoothies to the menu. But first, they need to hire some more people to serve their fine food.