TAVERNA, the restaurant is a way for us to share our most valuable past, present and future memories with you. Together we have spent decades of friendship, adventure, toil, and study to come to the realization that our most cherished experiences are among friends and family gathered around a dinner table. The harmony of laughter, stories, generous hospitality and delicious food & wine from the shores, and mountain towns of the Greek Islands. We invite you to join us in our continued pursuit of the joy of dining and friendship.
Justin and Dimitri
TAVERNA has been a culmination of the past 25 years of shared ups, downs, laughter, sweat, and a few tears between best friends. Justin and Dimitri grew up together on Long Island and have been inseparable since the 1st grade. Dimitri and his family, being originally from Greece, maintain a beautiful home in Karpathos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Every summer, Dimitri and his family would return to Greece and because of their close friendship, Justin joined the tradition each year.
The two both come from families with strong restaurant backgrounds and at a very young age they showed a passion for the industry. Dimitri always gravitated to the service aspect of the business, while Justin found his calling in the kitchen. As they grew older they both followed their individual paths in search of knowledge and experience, with the end goal of opening their own restaurant.
Justin moved to the Lowcountry to attend College of Charleston where he studied hospitality, and then on to culinary school at the Art Institute of Charleston. He worked in Charleston for a few years but then decided to return to New York to work in the highly regarded kitchens of Manhattan. After climbing to Executive Chef for Bobby Flay at Bar Americain and a cross country journey that landed him at The French Laundry in California, Justin eventually found himself back in Charleston as Executive Chef at the historic Mills House Hotel.
Dimitri’s commitment to service and hospitality took him to Boston for his bachelor’s degree in Hotel Restaurant Management, then off to New York to continue his education at The French Culinary Institute and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. His studies led him to oversee several Manhattan Food and Beverage programs, including the Ritz Carlton Central Park , Atelier and BLT Market. Dimitri finally made his way back home to take over one of Long Island’s highest rated and iconic eateries, Crabtree’s Restaurant, where he was awarded 6 consecutive Star Diamond awards from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
Through the years the two would laugh over nightly recaps of service successes and failures, and keeping with tradition they would return to Greece each summer. As time went on, individual success and geographical separation stood in the way of their childhood dream. It was then that Dimitri decided to join Justin in Charleston, as they worked together at the Mills House Hotel. Together they were able to bring the food and beverage program of the hotel to new heights and it was there that Philosophia had regained strength and the two vowed to start looking for a space.
This restaurant is built on the foundation of a friendship which holds its fondest memories and experiences looking out over the Aegean sea, sharing mezethes and white wine, and reminiscing the journey that has brought us to this point.
“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.” Pythagoras