Hidden Gems of CLT: Open Kitchen

Watch a new episode of Hidden Gems of Charlotte with Alexandra Elich each Thursday on WCCB News Rising.


CHARLOTTE, NC — Looking for new spots to check out in Charlotte? WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich explores tucked away spots, historic businesses, and secret gardens in the middle of our bustling city.

On this week’s Hidden Gems of Charlotte, Alex visits Open Kitchen.

The ingredients to having a successful restaurant that thrives for decades is simple says Christina Skiouris. All you need is good food, relaxing atmosphere and a love for people.

“The music, the food, the sense of community here that has been built over all these years. And you really do make friends with the customers,” says Skiouris.

It’s one of Charlotte’s oldest landmark restaurants. On West Morehead Street in Wesley heights since 1952. Open kitchen started by Christina’s father and uncle.

“They came up with the Italian idea, we are Greek, we’re not Italian,” says Skiouris.

The first Italian restaurant in the Charlotte area.

“At the time my father had moved to Washington, DC. When he married my mother and it was during the war years and Italian immigrants were opening the restaurants in New York. That all the new stuff there and they wanted to bring it to Charlotte, they said let’s do something new,” says Skiouris.

The restaurant became an instant hit.

“It was super busy, always busy. Lines out the door it was fun and it’s still fun it’s a fun place to be,” says Skiouris.

Christina says back in the day many people trying their very first slice of za here.

“They had never smelled the garlic or the sauce and they wanted to know what it was. You hear the stories all the time about how people they would come in and say well I’ll try the pizza and they had no idea what they were getting,” says Skiouris.

She calls it Charlotte style pizza, but pizza isn’t the only menu item. Like the decor the menu is eclectic something for everyone.

“Very lucky, fortunate that we have such good customers. We have great food,” says Skiouris.

The restaurant is a family affair. All of Christina’s children have worked there at some point and she still runs it with her son.