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The Daily Dish Life After Bravo

Top Chef's George Pagonis Dishes on New Greek Restaurant [And Its Epic Celeb Patrons]

After learning that "anything is possible" from his time on Season 12, the chef reveals all about his latest New York restaurant, Paros.

By Hannah Chambers

How to Watch

Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

Top Chef fans saw George Pagonis whip up plenty of mouth-watering meals on Season 12, but now, there’s a new way to try his food for themselves.  

George and his brother, Nicholas Pagonis, recently opened a Greek fine-dining restaurant in New York City. Located in the ultra-cool neighborhood of Tribeca, Paros brings a Mediterranean taste to Manhattan.  

“Our parents are both Greek immigrants,” George told The Daily Dish, explaining that the brothers were inspired to pursue a culinary career after growing up in the restaurant industry with their father’s diner. “After working for so many people for so many years, we took a leap of faith and decided to go out on our own.”  

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George Pagonis as the bartender at WWHL

Top Chef Alum George Pagonis Dishes on His New Restaurant

George and Nicholas are a solid team; George oversees the kitchen, while Nicholas works as the general manager. “It’s a family-owned restaurant, and we make the experience feel that way,” said George.  

As for what makes Paros unique?  

“I like to take Greek classics and just really refine them, clean them up,” said George. "I worked at a lot of French and Michelin-rated restaurants in the past, so I try to apply some of those level of techniques into the Greek cuisine that I do now." Even with the twist George adds to his food, diners will enjoy a truly authentic taste. “I like to bring in my seafood fresh from Greece.”

Paros has a menu that will leave you coming back for more. For example, brunch guests will find classic options such as avocado toast and steak and eggs among authentic Greek dishes, like lamb chops and chicken souvlaki. There are also plenty of meals that sit somewhere in the middle — think tsoureki French toast, which puts a spin on the brunch favorite by adding baklava. There's also a raw bar, daily fish specials, and signature drinks, including a Paros Spritz, a Greek approach to the popular Italian cocktail featuring Otto's Athen Vermouth. 

George Pagonis' Restaurant Paros: A Celebrity Hotspot with Taylor Swift and Mei Lin Among Its Diners

According to George, Paros has been “doing really well” among its neighbors, and has even feted fellow Season 12 contestants Mei Lin and Melissa King. He and his brother were also surprised to see Taylor Swift "pop in" to Paros recently.

Despite the celebrity clientele and great success the Pagonis brothers have already enjoyed, George noted that the "most exciting part" of the experience has been working together. 

"There's no big investor with a huge bank account there to bail you out as a safety net. It's just me and my brother and that's it," said George. "There was nobody else to help us, so everything that we did, we kinda figured it out on our own. Now that we see the restaurant is up and running and successful, it's so gratifying and satisfying because we did it, just us two." 

George also explained that his Top Chef roots helped him get through some of the challenges of opening Paros — from finding the perfect space to securing a liquor license. 

“Top Chef teaches you that anything is possible,” George said. “Top Chef teaches you [when] you’re backed up against the wall, you’re surprised what you’re capable of.”  

Top Chef returns for Season 21 on March 20. In the meantime, catch up on past episodes on Peacock

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