Chef Yiannis Lucacos
Longtime Kentlands restaurant Vasilis Mediterranean Grill is preparing to move to its new, larger location on Centerpoint Way and plans to open in early September.
The restaurant will leave its small, 26-seat space on Main Street where it has served Greek cuisine to customers for the past 15 years to move to the new 4,000-square-foot space about two blocks away. The new restaurant at 705 Centerpoint Way can serve 171 guests in its dining room and on its patio.
As part of the move, the eatery is also tweaking its name from Vasilis Mediterranean Grill to Vasilis Kitchen Fresh Mediterranean. The name change reflects the open layout of the new space that will allow diners to view the kitchen.
“We want our guests to feel as if they are part of our family and connected to the kitchen,” said Theo Hristopoulos, restaurant manager and a member of the family that owns the restaurant.
In anticipation of the move, the family has partnered with chef Yiannis Lucacos—a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, who spent the better part of the last decade operating his own restaurant, Psomi & Alta, in Greece.
Hristopoulous said Lucacos is a close family friend who was looking for an opportunity to return to the United States. Lucacos was born in Virginia and trained as a chef in New York City after culinary school. He spent part of his childhood in the Mediterranean country and has appeared as a judge on the TV show MasterChef.
“We always like to say we cook with extra love and that’s something Yiannis Lucacos really capitalizes on,” Hristopoulous said.
The new space has been designed to give off a modern Greek vibe with wood accents and brick walls, according to the manager, and will also include floor-to-ceiling windows, a wood-burning oven and a built-in fire pit on the patio.
The family hired the Washington, D.C., design firm HapstakDemetriou+ to create the look of the new space. The firm has designed other area restaurants such as Wildwood Kitchen in Bethesda and Fiola Mare in D.C., according to its website.