Chef and restaurateur Stratos Lambos sees great things in the future of his restaurant management company, Stratos Restaurant Group. With successful eateries Ilios Noche and Nolen Kitchen & Crescent Bar and Lounge already in full swing, Lambos and his partner Angelo Kaltsounis are looking forward to the opening of their new restaurant – Big View Diner Lounge – in south Charlotte.
Creative Loafing: What is the concept behind your new restaurant, Big View Diner?
It's a freestanding upscale diner in south Charlotte. By upscale, I mean in design and quality of ingredients; it will still be affordable and family-friendly.
Being from the northeast, my partners and I grew up in the diner business with our fathers, so this comes naturally to us. The open kitchen will include a full bakery where our baker/owner Frank Kaltsounis can prepare desserts for all three of our restaurants.
What lies ahead for Stratos Restaurant Group?
The sky is the limit for us. We hope to continue to grow and open multiconcept restaurants. We have always wanted to extend the concept of Ilios Noche but we remain very selective in which concepts go where. Nolen Kitchen, for example is a great neighborhood American fusion restaurant while Ilios has more of the ethnic feel. Me, Angelo and Frank are chefs by nature, so it's exciting for us to give patrons a concept they haven't seen here before.
Between your two restaurants, what menu item are you most proud of?
The braised lamb at Ilios Noche is prepared like no other restaurant in Charlotte. We braise it for 4 to 5 hours, and it requires the most time to prepare. That dish really brings me back to my Greek roots. But it is so hard to choose just one dish because I eat at my restaurants the majority of the week, and I love everything.