Nationalities and flavors combine at Vasileio’s

by Molly Reitter

Vasileios Bakatsias, owner of Vasileio’s Italian Kitchen, prepares to serve customers. (Bill Ward/MIM photo)

The owner of one of Mount Holly’s newest restaurants knows a little something about the restaurant business.

Born in the town of Karpenisi, Greece, Vasileio Bakatsias quit school at the age of 14, moved to Athens and found work in a restaurant. He worked his way up the business and eventually opened three restaurants in Greece. When family members moved to the United States, Bakatsias decided to follow and take the opportunity to learn more about the restaurant business.

He took his first job in America working at an Italian restaurant in Winston-Salem, and after working in several other restaurants, settled in Mount Holly in 2008, where he opened Billy’s Barbeque on West Charlotte Avenue. Then, one month ago, he opened up his second restaurant, Vasileio’s Italian Kitchen, 200 S. Main St.

“Local people are always coming in,” he said. “The people here really make the restaurant work. It is mostly word of mouth advertising.”

Vasileio’s Italian Kitchen, located in the space that formerly housed the Knife and Fork, features Italian, Greek and American fare. There are salads, pizzas, stromboli, gyros and many Italian specialties, such as chicken marsala, baked ravioli and baked egg parmesan on the menu. Lunch specials range from $6.95 to $8, and dinner specials are sometimes offered as well.

“Ninety-five percent of everything is homemade,” he said.

Lifetime Mount Holly resident Cona Turner serves as a manager at the restaurant. She met her boss four years ago at Billy’s Barbeque, where she was eating lunch. When Bakatsias opened his new restaurant he said he immediately thought of her as the perfect person to run the place.

Turner said she really enjoys working at one of the newest restaurants in her hometown, where she works the hostess stand and checks on customers before they leave.

“We always get compliments on everything,” she said.

However, Turner said she has a really hard time picking a favorite dish from the menu.

“At first it was the spinach pizza, but then I tasted the fettuccine carbonara,” Turner said. “Oh, and the spinach and feta calzone is amazing.”

And after being open for only a month, the establishment has already developed a following of regulars. Mount Holly resident Vickie Staton, who was eating at the restaurant for the third time, praised the food.

“It is really, really excellent, especially the Italian,” she said. “We’ve ordered different things every time we’ve come in and it has all been so good.”

Kerri Hester, who lives in north Belmont, ordered take out from the restaurant after hearing rave reviews from a friend.

“I’m so excited to try it,” Hester said. “I’ve heard really good things. My friend is officially obsessed with it. Can’t get a better recommendation that that.”

Want more information?

Give Vasileio’s Italian Kitchen, located at 200 S. Main St., a call at 704-820-8490.

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