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It Runs In The Family

Greek restaurant and wine bar in Traville Gateway encourages lengthy, relaxed meals.

On weekdays, Cava opens for lunch at 11:30 a.m., and dinner begins at 5 p.m. every day. As for its closing time? There is none — the owners of the new Greek restaurant in Traville Gateway want to encourage lengthy and relaxed meals.

Tally-Ho is a Potomac Village hangout owned and run by Youlla Vellios. After many years of working alongside immediate family members, Vellios’ nephew, Ted Xenohristos, was ready to branch out on his own. With the support of friends Ike Grigoropoulos and Dimitri Moschovitis, the three partners built, painted and opened North Potomac-based Cava, a Greek restaurant with a staff of Greek relatives and close friends.

“We built a place where people could enter as strangers and leave as friends,” Xenohristos said.

Owners Grigoropoulos, Xenohristos, and Moschovitis make it a point to show their faces among the customers. Grigoropoulos and Xenohristos come from a background of restaurateurs as Grigoropoulos’ family owned the Tippys Taco House franchise and Xenohristos’ mom, Christina, currently owns Greek Islands Grill in Silver Spring.

IN GREEK, Cava means wine cellar, and with more wine than space to showcase it, Cava is no misnomer for this restaurant.

The restaurant also boasts an array of Greek mezze (similar to tapas) and the atmosphere is Greek-inspired. Moschovitis, who some local diners may know from his days at Flaps in Potomac Village, is now head chef at Cava. His recommended menu items include the grilled octopus, the baby lamb chops and the crab stuffed shrimp.

“Cava reveals a fresh, modern interpretation of Greek cuisine.” Grigoropoulos said, “We have the old world classics and many modern dishes, but everything on the menu says Greek.”

Local restaurant-goer and fellow Greek, Jason Bannister, said he enjoys Cava for its fun and lively atmosphere. “No matter what, every time I go, I order the braised beef because it’s an authentic Greek dish,” Bannister said. He thinks the best starter dish is the Saganaki cheese, which is flambéed at your table.

One of Cava’s signature desserts is its Loukoumade, a honey- and cinnamon-glazed Greek doughnut. As for Bannister, though, he orders the chocolate baklava. He said about the petite dessert, “It’s the perfect ending to any meal.”

The owners work to keep the customers happy by offering drink specials. For example, Mondays feature $5 martinis and Tuesdays offer half-price wine bottles. In addition, the restaurant recently opened for lunch and catering services.

Long and Foster Realtor Margie Halem recently spent a girls’ night out at Cava. Halem is a neighborhood resident who is thrilled with the idea of having an upscale restaurant nearby. She says about her night out, “Cava boasted a fabulous atmosphere and delicious martinis.” Most importantly, Halem said, she is pleased by the fact that she does not have to travel too far for an enjoyable dining night out.

Cava adheres to a simple formula: the staff keeps the customers happy, the drinks topped off and the food coming. Grigoropoulos, Xenohristos, and Moschovitis aspire to serve Greek mezzo at Traville Gateway in an atmosphere that is warm and inviting.