After years of renovation, a Historic Charleston Foundation Robert N.S. and Patti Foos Whitelaw Founders Award for rehabilitation, and one failed restaurant concept, Steven Niketas is about to reopen 114 St. Philip St. Tomorrow Stella’s — the second location of the well known Richmond restaurant — opens in Niketas’ 126-year-old building.
Niketas announced the change in September citing a need for dining diversity as the reason for swap from The Westendorff’s upscale diner fare to Greek. Niketas has partnered with Stella’s owners, Johnny and Katrina Giavos, to bring the RVA spot to Charleston.
In Richmond, Stella’s — named after Stella Dikos — has earned a reputation as a place for authentic Greek food and a massive menu — from moussaka to whole branzino, which Richmond’s Style Weekly said it’s 2011 review is the star of the evening — to match. But the history of the place is what’s really intriguing.
According to a 2013 Southern Foodways Alliance interview, Stella arrived in Richmond from Greece via an arranged marriage at age 19. Working with her husband Stavros, the couple opened The Village and that’s where Stella cut her teeth in the kitchen, developing a menu of patron favorites along with dishes from her native Greece.
“In 1983, Stella convinced Stavros to open her namesake restaurant on Harrison Street and Grace Streets,” SFA writes. “After closing and re-opening another Stella’s on Main Street, she closed once more. Richmonders continued to ask her when they could eat with her again.” And it finally happened in 2011 following Stavros death. Stella opened a third time on Lafayette Street.
Today her daughter Katrina Giavos and her husband and business partner Johnny Giavos, have opened 13 other restaurants around Richmond.
Stella’s Charleston location opens tomorrow for lunch and dinner. The restaurant will be open Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Happy hour at bar is from 4-6 p.m., and dinner will be served from 5-11 p.m. and on Saturday from 4-11 p.m.
Niketas says, “Greek Sunday brunch is coming in February.” Reservations are available on the Resy app starting tomorrow as well, however counter service will be first come first served.