When you walk into Telly's Grill, you can already get a sense of what this restaurant will look like once it is fully completed. At first glance, you notice the details on the ceiling.
Straps that have gone through a kiln are placed creatively on the ceiling and wall. Giving a modern but homey feel, the restaurant reflects an inviting feeling, allowing you to feel like everyone is welcome. And that is exactly what owner and chef Peter Karnouskos wants.
"I really wanted a warm, comforting place that anybody can come to," he said. Telly's Grill will be filled with traditional Mediterranean dishes as well as a twist to some of your favourites.
"I designed the menu around what I love to eat. I designed the menu to be based around comfort food.
We do have some stars in the show, some braised leg of lamb and deep fried ice cream. But, I like to think the whole menu is the star of the show," he said with a smile. Although he isn't sure when exactly he will be opening his doors, Peter and his team are aiming for mid-April.
Peter, born and raised in Smithers, found his love for food at his father's restaurant. "My father had a restaurant in town that was very busy. We had that restaurant untill 1997.
It was called Savalas Steak House," Telly's is somewhat of a tribute to his father's restaurant. "It was kind of my way of bringing my father's legacy into my life, I'm kind of emulating myself after him for sure, " he said.
Peter first thought about opening another Savalas Steak House, but he wanted to start something of his own. "Savalas Steak House was named after Telly Savalas who played Kojak. He was a Greek actor. So Telly's is kind of a part two to Savalas Steak House," he said. Prior to this, Peter was working as a chef at mining camps and fishing lodges.
However, the dream of starting his own restaurant never escaped him. So in August of last year, he decided to take a leap of faith. But like any new business, getting it off the ground can be challenging. And for Peter, it is no different. He said the process has been crazy. "I left my job in August to do it. I started my business plans and idea.
I started looking for a location. I found a location in September, so once we started the process it took probably two months before I got any deal done and we started renovations in January. It's been quite the process for sure," he said. But this has motivated Peter to having the restaurant he has always dreamed of. "I want it to be the busiest in town," he said with a laugh. But his dreams don't stop there.
One day in the future, he hopes to expand his business elsewhere. "I want to make Telly's a success. In five or 10 years I am hoping to venture out, maybe do another one somewhere. But for now, I just want to focus on being efficient and being at the top of our game," he said. Having his own restaurant has always been Peter’s end game, the thing he wanted to do the most.
As of right now, Peter and his team of about 10 employees, first want to open the restaurant to those that have helped him get to this stage. "We will do a soft opening first. We will invite people who have helped us a lot with the whole project," he said. After this, they will shut down for a day and work out all the kinks to prepare for their grand opening. Until then, he wants the community to know he and his team are working to bring them the best of the best. "We are going to do our best to provide them with the best food and service possible," he said.