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Former New York lawyers Stanley and Dimos Tripodianos, who visited their relatives in Roanoke as boys, have come to town to create a dining destination steeped in family and Greek traditions.
Imagine you and your brother are successful attorneys living in New York City. You’ve lived your entire life in the city—first Queens, then Long Island. You’ve grown up surrounded by entertainment, art, eateries, Broadway shows (I’m pretending, too)…you get the idea.
Now, imagine, while you like being an attorney, you find it stressful (not hard imagining) and not completely satisfying. It’s fine, but not that fine. Your brother feels similarly. So, the two of you decide to leave all the art, Broadway, eateries, family, friends and city behind, and go open a Greek restaurant 460 miles south in an Appalachian mountain town called Roanoke.
Whoa. That’s some imagination.
That’s exactly what Dimos and Stanley Tripodianos did.
The Tripodianos story—especially as Dimos tells it—is classically Greek: many characters all related with beautiful but often difficult names; all fully engaged in a life that somehow seems both strategic and a little confusing. The Tripodianoses’ father immigrated at the age of 16 to Roanoke from Greece with his 18-year -old brother. Their goal? Earn enough money for their parents and young sister to join them. The boys lived with an uncle who had immigrated years prior. They spoke no English and never finished school. But, they were successful and soon the family was together again. Eventually, the family moved to New York City where Mr. Tripodianos—Dimos and Stanley’s grandfather—bought a restaurant across the street from a hospital in Queens (remember this). Years later, and lots of story left out, in this same hospital, Stelios (Stanley) and then Dimos Tripodianos were born.
Naturally, being Greek, the brothers grew up steeped in family and food. Dimos Tripodiandos—front-of-house man and spokesperson—says he loved his grandfather’s restaurant, and when asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, he’d say, “Own a restaurant.”
“Oh, no, no,” his parents would tell him, “Your grandfather was always there, always there. You gotta go to school.”
“So, okay,” he says, shrugging. “I went to school. I excelled at school.”
Yet years of practicing law never diminished the restaurant dream. If anything it intensified it. Dimos says he liked what he did, but wanted to work with the public on a more personal level. Being an attorney was stressful. Living in the city was stressful.
When the brothers finally decided to actualize their restaurant dream, they knew they would come to Roanoke. Childhood trips visiting family opened them to a reality different than New York City.
“People in Roanoke are genuine, more down to earth,” he says. “They value things differently. In New York, people are more consumed within their own culture. It’s a strange bubble.”
Just like their father’s family decades earlier, the brothers strategically split to ensure success. In 2013, Stanley moved to Roanoke, while Dimos kept their law practice going in the city. It took two years to find the old medical-supply building on Jefferson and another year to remodel it. Dimos says he knew from the first pictures that this was the place. He found its smallish size great for managing quality control. He liked its rectangular shape for creating the layout he’d been designing in his mind. And he thought its location—across the street from a hospital—was a sign.