Art Castellano, new manager, talks about restaurant’s 6th anniversary, new seasonal menu, and upcoming events
In the cozy and contemporary atmosphere of the Kalypso’s Sports Tavern’s lounge, new Manager Art Castellano and Owner Vicky Hadjikyriakou talked with VivaReston Lifestyle magazine about upcoming events, new additions to the menu, and how the restaurant has enjoyed steady growth since its opening on July 3, 2010.
Kalypso’s Sports Tavern offers a Mediterranean and American menu, a wide selection of beers and wines, and three different seating areas with differing ambiances—sports bar, lounge, and waterfront patio seating—much to the delight of its clientele. Weekends are vibrant, as live acoustic music is always performed on the patio.
One new addition to the menu, crab avocado salad, is a hit. Vicky explained that it’s like a southwestern salad, with an avocado shell stuffed with crab, corn, tomatoes, and pico de gallo. Another delicacy is the Barramundi: “It’s an Asian sea bass, and we top it with olive oil and tomato. You’ll find a lot of Mediterranean influences,” Vicky added. Other items on the menu include soft shell crabs, Greek salmon salad, and, in September, a “NFL Menu,” just in time for football season.
The perfect place to watch and enjoy football!
With 31 TV screens inside and on the patio, Kalypso’s is always ready for sports fans. When the NFL season kicks off on September 8 with the Patriots-Broncos game, there will be a special menu for fans to enjoy while watching the game.
“Our NFL menu includes chicken wings, chicken tenders, and finger food that you can eat while watching the game,” Art said. “There will be different beer prices, and every two or three weeks, we’ll bring in a new draft beer.”
Recently, Kalypso’s added a new beer to the menu—Fat Tire—an amber ale from New Belgium.
To make the experience even more festive, the restaurant holds a raffle for a TV at the end of every season, with the money collected from the raffle always donated to charity.
If you are not a Redskins fan, no worries; Kalypso’s has it all figured out. Fans from non-local teams can reserve a table just for them in front of a TV screen and watch “their” game while eating. A server is assigned to that table, so the customers don’t even have to get up to get a beer.
For corporate or private parties that want to take in a game, the lounge can also be divided into smaller rooms.
“For those companies that can’t afford the club scene at FedEx field, this is the next best thing for them,” said Art. “We have stadium seating,” added Vicky. “We turn all our couches towards the TV, with surround sound.”
Corporate parties, Halloween and New Year’s Eve events
Vicky said she likes celebrating the holidays, and at Kalypso’s, they have parties all year long.
“At Halloween, we always have a costume party,” Art explained. “There’s a cash prize for the best costume, and we let the customers be the judges. Whoever gets the loudest cheer ends up winning the cash prize.”
There is also a big New Year’s Eve party every December 31 from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., when guests enjoy a full meal, including appetizer, dinner, dessert and champagne, and the TVs are tuned to New York City’s Time Square countdown. Music is performed by a live acoustic band and a DJ. At midnight, people count down and cheer for the New Year with other guests as one big party.
“It’s packed,” Art said. “This past New Year’s Eve, it wasn’t too cold out, so we even had people outside. We moved some of the TVs outside for the countdown as well, which we also do for NFL games when the weather is good. Even during the winter, you can often sit outside,” said Art.
Kalypso’s lounge and patio are also available for corporate, group or association parties. “We have a wonderful setup for Christmas, and we host Christmas parties for companies,” said Vicky. “We do not charge for the space; as long as they consume food and drinks, we will reserve the space for you,” she added.
Recently, Kalypso’s hosted one party in the lounge while another was being held on the patio. Reston’s South Lakes High School held their 30-year reunion with 300 people, while another group of 150 people who were born and raised in Reston had a get-together event.
“Although our kitchen is small, we managed to serve both parties at the same time. We have great cooks,” said Art. “We don’t have cooks who just walk in off the street and want a job; we have cooks whom we pay well, and they’re invested in their jobs. We demand that they do their jobs well, and they do.”
Kids come first too!
Art stated that the restaurant caters to families, and the outdoor patio is especially well suited for birthday parties, with a nice kids’ menu with about 10 items from which to choose.
“If they’ll be here at 2:00 p.m., I’ll start setting up at 1:00 pm to make sure everything is ready, and depending on how big your party is, I will specifically assign a server just to you. In a busy restaurant, that rarely happens,” Art stated, “but here we make it a priority.”
The patio is also pet friendly, and many folks come with their pups to enjoy the lake view and relaxing atmosphere.
Catering soon to come
Art stated that catering services will soon be available for corporate parties, weddings, graduations, or any event in the area. He wants to make sure the food arrives fresh and the costumers have a good experience, so the delivery area will likely be limited to a 10- to 15-mile perimeter, including Reston, Herndon, Sterling and some parts of Vienna and Tyson’s. They can also provide servers if the client requests that service.
Six years of steady growth
“Since day one, our sales have grown dramatically every year, and in the restaurant business, that is not the norm nowadays,” said Art. “We want to do whatever we can to inspire people to come back. Our food speaks for itself, but above and beyond that is the quality of servers who have been working for us. We have servers who have been here since the start, not only because they enjoy their job, but also because they make good money, they love working for Kalypso’s, and they love Vicky and [her husband] George. When they’re talking to their friends, they say ‘my restaurant’, rather than ‘the place I work.’ That’s taking ownership, and that’s what we want here. We don’t want somebody who is going to come in and count their tips at the end of the night. We want someone who gives everything they’ve got.”
Employees at Kalypso’s are trained to work in any station, including the bar, the kitchen, the patio, and the lounge, so they all can fill in any position, allowing them to learn and grow professionally.
New manager in a family restaurant
Although Art is new to Kalypso’s, he has more than 13 years of experience in the restaurant business. A former police officer in Arlington for 20 years, he has worked for corporate restaurants and is an expert in catering.
“I bring my experience from corporate restaurants, which taught me different ways to ensure a quality in food, and I bring knowledge of the restaurant business, whether it’s fine dining or fast casual,” Art said. “My skills are very applicable to this restaurant.”
For him, working at Kalypso’s is like working for family. He and his wife, Moni, have known Vicky and George for years: “Our daughter and their son grew up together through kindergarten, and we both live in the same area, so we’ve been friends forever. We’re friends first. I am working for a friend, and Vicky and George have a friend working for them. That’s the way we look at it.”
For more information about Kalypso’s Sports Tavern, please visit www.KalypsosSportsTavern.com.