Pappoule’s Greek restaurant, a Tucson institution with more than 30 years of serving gyros, kebab platters and falafel at Tucson Mall, has closed two of its three restaurants.

That leaves just Pappoule’s Opa at Foothills Mall on the northwest side, which owner Michael Cotsones said will remain open. He has plans to expand the menu with more traditional Greek dishes, he said.

Cotsones said he decided to close his food-court restaurants at Park Place and Tucson Mall — where his family had been one of the first food-court tenants, opening in March 1982 — once his leases expired at the end of January.

“The recession hurt a little bit. And the mall is not quite what it was,” Cotsones said. “The traffic doesn’t justify the rent any more. We did good there for years and years. I don’t want to disparage anything. They made us offers and we decided not to do it.”

Brighid Brown, marketing manager for Tucson Mall and Park Place, said both malls are adding new eateries: Sbarro Pizza and Sarku Japan at Tucson and Kelly’s Cajun Grill at Park Place. “Our food courts are very popular with our shoppers,” she said.

Cotsones’ parents, John and Angeline Cotsones, opened Pappoule’s in the Tucson Mall after moving here from their native Chicago. They opened the Park Place restaurant a dozen years ago and introduced Pappoule’s Opa at Foothills Mall seven years ago. In December the family renewed that lease for another 10 years.

Pappoule’s also had a location downtown from 1995 to 1998 and made inroads into Phoenix in 2002 with a food-court eatery at Fiesta Mall that has since closed.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.