The southernmost branch of the local Jimmy V's franchise just shouldn't work: an Albanian family serving Greek food in German Village.

The southernmost branch of the local Jimmy V's franchise just shouldn't work: an Albanian family serving Greek food in German Village.

Peculiar? Yes. Wonderful? Absolutely.

For many who live in my favorite part of town, the restaurant and bar is a multifaceted, catch-all attraction: sports bar, cozy dinner spot, breezy summer cocktail place, one of the only businesses selling spirits during the '08 blizzard.

Jimmy V's meets a lot of needs with its expansive menu, charming staff and versatile interior.

While gyros and Greek fare are among the tastiest and most popular items, the menu spans favorites from Italy to Philadelphia, the Middle East to Texas. There's something for everyone - and every occasion - with sandwiches and gyros averaging about $8 and entrees ranging from $11 to $20. Sides, soups and a variety of appetizer platters are available starting at around $4.

Different cuisines require different settings, and JV's in GV offers the traditional wooden barroom and two unique patios clearly influenced by Albania's coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The owners definitely emphasize the joy of sitting outside.

A smaller front patio handles smokers and overflow on busy nights. Leisurely dining and drinks, however, are best enjoyed on the back patio - one of the best places in town for a first date under $50. In the rear space, ivy and holiday lights drape from the roof, while water cascades down a nearby wall.

Recently, a beautiful copper-plated bar was installed in the rear to serve a full slate of wine, liquor and beer. Taps are in place for Smithwick's, Hoster, Great Lakes, Jimmy Buffett's Landshark Lager and Blue Moon.

Co-owner Valter Velio plans also to pour a slate of gourmet cognacs and bourbons.

This brings me to one of the establishment's most endearing features: Velio himself, the namesake's nephew, who came from Albania about three years ago to run the bar.

Velio, if he's busy, will simply say hello, ask you about your week and ensure your meal is up to par. In a free moment, he'll pull up a chair, grab a drink (often Grand Marnier), maybe buy a quick round of shots and discuss his favorite football club (currently Barcelona).

He's a good-hearted Balkan gentleman ready to sit, drink and talk soccer. His fine pub will make you feel very at home.