By Drossoulla Mavromatis
Unfortunately, not all of us live in Greece all year long. For many of us Greeks who live abroad, this issue can be tough; thankfully for the people of Tarpon Springs, Florida, Yanni Stathakis has come to the rescue! Yanni is the owner of Baraki bar and lounge, located on the beautiful Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs. His focus of opening Baraki was to make Greek locals feel as though they are in the Aegean when they can’t physically be there. With a full food and drink menu (written in Greek and English), all Greek staff, full espresso bar, and even live Greek television powered by Baraki’s parent company Ellas TV, locals forget they’re even in America!
It doesn’t just stop there; Yanni is also the owner of his own entertainment company, “Arista Entertainment” and brings major artists from Greece to perform throughout the year. He has already had performers including Konstantinos Nazis, Knock Out, and Master Tempo. There have even been some Greek celebrity visits from Natasa Theodoridou and Lefteris Pantazis. We sat down with Yanni to discuss what his inspiration was when he opened Baraki and what he hopes to accomplish with “bringing Greece to America”.
What inspired you to open Baraki?
Baraki is my dream concept of having a Greek-based foundation in a Greek town that would accomplish: food, entertainment, cocktails, spirits, etc. It encompasses everything that I do.
What is the concept that you want to portray to the public?
We want to highlight Greece and what’s going on in Greece today; not in the 1970s. It’s modern, vintage, it encompasses Greek food, Greek entertainment, Greek drinks, atmosphere, and even our employees are Greek, as that is part of who we are.
What do you plan to accomplish by “bringing Greece to America?”
Keep doing what we’re doing, and growing, perfecting the concept. Expanding our menu, and try to get better at it.
What separates you from other Greek competition in Tarpon Springs, located in the Sponge Docks where other Greek establishments are?
We’d like to think that we blend with the other restaurants and businesses. But what separates us is that we encompass the big three: food, booze, and entertainment. We have one place that has all three things together. The Greek owners of the other restaurants feel comfortable coming to our place to experience what we do.
Any exciting projects in the works?
Yes! We are continuously expanding our event calendar with bigger names, more shows, more events, and we are now in the process of doing a two-part expansion in renovation this year, and a bigger one next year. We are also going to be announcing two more locations in two more states in other Greek towns in the U.S.
After speaking with Yanni and enjoying a Saturday night out at his establishment, we couldn’t help but give this place a 10/10! If you live in the Tampa Bay area or plan on visiting Tarpon Springs for vacation, you have to put Baraki on your list! The food was authentic, the drinks were refreshing, and the atmosphere was electrifying!