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5,000 Year Old
Stavros Aktipis. Founder, Kellari Hospitality Group
The driving force behind Kellari Hospitality is owner and operator Stavros Aktipis. Aktipis, a native of the Ionian Island of Zakynthos, operator of restaurants and bars in Athens Greece who left for the United States in 1989 to manage Periyali, the first fine-dining Greek restaurant in Manhattan.
What followed was a long career in restaurants that lead him from the east coast to the west coast. His career in California began at legendary actor and director Carroll O’Connor’s American family-style restaurant, The Ginger Man. Aktipis eventually went on to open and operated Evvia restaurant a Greek concept in Palo Alto, CA.
In 1996, Aktipis returned to NYC and continued to consult with other New York restaurants as he began plans to open his own operation. Also Mr. Aktipis operated Trata and he is one of the founders and managing partner of Avra Estiatorio in NYC.
The first restaurant in the Kellari Hospitality family, Kellari Taverna, was conceptualized and opened its doors in 2005. The company operates Martinique Cafe on Broadway - Kellari Taverna NY - Kellari Taverna DC - Blue Olive Catering.
Chef Gregory, Corporate Executive Chef
Gregory Zapantis is the Corporate Executive Chef and an Operating Partner of Kellari Hospitality Group. Prior to joining Stavros Aktipis and the Kellari Group, Zapantis worked as a sous-chef at the high-powered restaurant Estiatorio Milos. He then teamed up with his sous-chef at Milos and headed for the Upper East Side, where they landed at Trata. It was at Trata that he first met Aktipis. Zapantis then went on to launch the very successful Tribeca restaurant Thalassa, where he became well known among fish aficionados. In 2006, Zapantis and Aktipis partnered up to open the widely successful Kellari Taverna.
The hallmark of Zapantis’ success is consistency, quality, and exceptional access to some of the most hard-to-find fish. His repertoire is as wide as his knowledge of fish is deep. A self-taught chef, Zapantis is a knowledgeable fish expert on seasons, textures, fishing boats and even the special techniques used by fishermen throughout different parts of Greece. His expertise is seen in the superb quality and variety of imported fish on daily display at both of Kellari restaurants.
Aktipis used his upbringing on Greece’s Ionian Islands as inspiration for Kellari Taverna’ interiors. The luxurious wooden beams crossing the cathedral ceiling, sun-hued walls and wine barrel accents are reminiscent of Tuscan design, a result of a long period of Venetian rule in the region. Aktipis embraces this seemingly non-traditional element of Greek design and delights in sharing the modern, slightly rustic simplicity that is a signature of the region with his guests.
Since the inception of Kellari Taverna, New York residents and guests have flocked to the Midtown Manhattan location for the fresh, whole fish, brought in daily from Greece, Portugal, Spain and Latin America, which are sold by the pound and expertly paired with seasonal produce, often from local farms.
American continental cuisine in the heart of midtown in NYC. With the design direction of the multi-talented architectural firm of Steven Kratchman he is transforming the ground floor, second level and lower level spaces into a fine dining and entertainment center that will be the talk of the town. Embracing a total of 17,000 square feet this will include a French Bistro fronting onto West 33rd Street and a two-level, 5,000-square-foot steakhouse that he intends to name Artemis after the Greek goddess of hunters.
As Kellari Taverna continued to shine on Manhattan’s restaurant scene, Aktipis began plans for a second Taverna location. After a great deal of research, Aktipis discovered that there was a city in great need of an upscale Mediterranean concept—Washington, D.C. And so, in 2009, Aktpis took Kellari Taverna and its bounty of fresh fish and Greek hospitality to the nation’s capital. In a city that has traditionally been dominated by steakhouses, the concept is truly one of a kind.
Opened in Fall of 2012, Petit Poulet is a French Bistro & Wine Bar located near Herald Square. Petit Poulet’s charming and intimate setting features warm wood walls, mosaic tile floors, and a classic tin ceiling in an ode to classic parisian bistros. Located in the Radisson Hotel in Herald Square, Petit Poulet offers full breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch menus, appealing to both travelers and locals alike. Some examples of the customary French fare includes French Onion Soup, Beef Tartar, Escargot, various tartine dishes, and rotisserie Cornish hen.
On the Horizon
Kellari Hospitality Group is expanding into different cuisine markets. The Kellari Group plans to open a Mediterranean marketplace in Manhattan’s East Side at 41st Street and 3rd Avenue area this Summer 2013. The Blue Olive Market will function as a gourmet Greek market for take-out food and will also sell specialty products such as cheeses, olive oils and other delicacies that are unique to Greece and the Mediterranean.
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