There's something about small restaurants off the beaten path, out there on the fringes of residential areas--so little foot traffic, parking, or signage--that can bring out the Holden Caulfield in a person. You just want to save all those innocent little shops from falling off that big old bankruptcy cliff.
From the outside, Vios Cafe & Marketplace looks like yet another small eatery needing to be saved. But the steady lunch-hour rush tells you the popular Capitol Hill cafe can take care of itself just fine, thank you, and far from tiny, the place is rather huge, all the better to accommodate its "marketplace" trappings: racks peddling cool-looking Greek cookies, preserves, and pastas; olive oil on tap next to a display of wine; and a long refrigerated section stocked with meats, pita, and drinks.
The food there, served simply and in modest portions, is excellent. Best advice: Follow the pita--the pita will not lead you astray. Sturdy, yet soft and pillowy, it can be dipped in baba ghanoush, tzatziki, or a hummus ($5) that is smooth, lemony, and not overly dogpiled with garlic. Better yet, try one of the pita sandwiches, like the chicken souvlaki sandwich ($5.75) with sweet peppers, red onions, grilled chicken breast, and tzatziki sauce, or the lamb burger ($6), featuring a sweet, burly tomato marmalade mixed with salty roasted onions and tart pickled zucchini, all rolled in said pita with lightly seasoned ground lamb. Beer and wine are also available--yay!--and there's a prix-fixe "family-style" dinner served evenings.
Relaxed and roomy, with pictures of smiling children all around and Greek ditties playing on the radio, Vios is a comfortable neighborhood cafe that plans on sticking around a while. And prospective Holden Caulfields will never find "fuck you" written on its clean painted walls.