Dimitris and Ilias Korakianitis grew up in the family restaurant business so they knew the pressures that came with it, which might be why neither of them pictured owning their own spot — never mind two of them.
The two brothers left London to study economics, Dimitris at Queens University and Ilias at University of Toronto.
Although they weren’t sure what direction each was headed, it seems their fate was almost predetermined.
“When I left for school I wasn’t always looking at the restaurant industry,” Dimitris said. “But as I was taking a lot of my courses, especially the financial ones, a lot of my models were based on restaurants. We just always wanted to keep moving forward.”
Four years ago, the brothers — with a lot of input from their mother and the experience she earned at the popular Huron House eatery (which closed in 2014 after 51 years) — opened up Kosmos London, at Unit 4, 551 Richmond St.
The catering side of the business was actually born in the back of a pizza shop they were renting out on weekends.
They would go in after hours, do all the cooking for their catering business, then do the clean-up and leave the place ready for the owners to open the pizza shop in the morning. The brothers soon grew out of that arrangement and so they started looking for a place to make their own.
“We loved the idea of being downtown, but it had to make sense,” Ilias said. “When we found that location, we knew we could really do something new and fun on Richmond.”
Although the original idea for Kosmos was to focus on the catering business, finding their location on Richmond Street allowed them to indulge the idea of opening a small eatery.
However, when another larger space opened up just a few units down from Kosmos, the brothers decided it was time to expand.
Dimi’s Greek House — which is set to open in “a few weeks” — will seat about 50 and include a liquor license, providing more of what Ilias describes as “more of a restaurant feel” as opposed to the eatery style of Kosmos.
The closeness of the two restaurants will provide one big advantage.
“It helps being just down from Kosmos. It’s our baby and we wouldn’t want it to suffer because we’re opening a new place,” he said. “The fact they’re so close allows both of us to work constantly at both all day long.”
Running one business is a lot of work, never mind opening a second, but the brothers don’t seem to mind the workload.
Dimitris said he and his brother both understand that to be their own boss, to be young entrepreneurs, means putting in the time and doing the work.
When they do find time to unwind, they actually spend a lot of their time going out with friends, visiting different restaurants, trying different foods and drinks, and just enjoying themselves.
Finding the time to relax is important too — whenever they actually can find it.
“It’s good to relax; I don’t get out golfing nearly as much as I would like to, our used to. There are always things on the go,” Dimitris said. “You just have to work it and grind it out to become a success. Our philosophy is if we work really hard now, maybe down the road we can relax a little.”