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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Constantine Stavropoulos: Crafting Culinary Excellence at Open City Restaurant

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The front entrance of Open City Restaurant, located in Woodley Park, D.C. (Derin Kirtman/International Dateline)

On a beautiful, sunny day, when the sudden craving for a pleasant brunch or a hearty cup of coffee arises, residents in the Woodley Park and Cleveland Park area can always count on Open City.

Owner and restaurateur of cafe and restaurant Open City, Constantine Stavropoulos, is also a WIS parent and proud member of the school community. Working in the food industry his whole life, ranging from bartender to server to cook, Stavropoulos has accumulated a wealth of expertise in the industry.

While he was born and raised in Philadelphia, Stavropoulos remains in touch with his Greek roots, giving him an international perspective that helps him lead a successful business in the diverse neighborhood of Woodley Park.

After founding Tryst in Adams Morgan, his first restaurant, Stavropoulos formed The Tryst Trading Company, which boasts five establishments: Tryst, The Diner, The Coupe, OpenCity at The National Cathedral and Open City.

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His restaurants aim to create a welcoming atmosphere in which people from all walks of life can congregate and socialize. Stavropoulos believes Open City does a great job of sparking these unconventional social dynamics that enrich the community.

“At the restaurant, we are able to mix tourists with locals, young with old,” he said. “Students, construction workers, all sorts of people coming together.”

Considering that D.C. has such an international population and receives millions of tourists annually, Stavropoulos understands the importance of embracing cultural diversity and ensuring a hospitable environment for all. This ideology is the primary driving force behind the unique nature of his restaurants.

“We managed to make it so that even tourists feel that they are welcomed,” Stavropoulos said.

Some visitors contact him personally to show their appreciation for his establishment.

“We received emails from people who were visiting from Michigan, France or New Mexico, saying that they felt at home [at Open City],” he said.

Opening Open City, his third restaurant, in 2005, Stavropoulos noticed the dearth of eateries in the area that specifically cater to the local residents of Cleveland Park, Woodley Park and Adams Morgan. The neighborhood offered only quick-stop coffee shops and fast food lacked a niche, relaxed cafe, according to Stavropoulos.

“All the restaurants at the time were catering to tourists,” Stavropoulos said. “Our main focus is the people of the neighborhood.”

Residents living in the neighborhood wanted a restaurant more than just a quick in-and-out joint. They desired a place where people can hang out and connect with others, according to Stavropolous.

The dining room of Open City, a restaurant owned by Constantine Stavropoulos, a WIS parent. Open City aims to welcome all kinds of visitors. (Derin Kirtman/Dateline)

Open City specializes in everyday comfort food with a large menu and countless options to choose from. “And of course, the best coffee,” Stavropoulos said.

Stavropoulos emphasizes how Open City consistently tries to stay economically accessible for people to visit daily, even amid recent price surges due to inflation.

“Our prices have not changed since 2018, even with inflation, so we have kept our prices reasonable so people can come every day,” he said.

Stavropoulos has also partnered with local schools for fundraising and catering events, such as other local businesses and Oyster Adams Elementary School.

As a successful entrepreneur and restaurant owner in the Woodley Park area, Stavropoulos shared some words of advice for individuals looking to follow in his footsteps.

“Learn about the local regulations, put together a very good business plan, how you want to get it financed and make sure to have experience and passion in that business,” he said.

Portrait of Constantine Stavropoulos, owner of popular restaurant Open City and The Tryst Trading Company. (Courtesy of Constantine Stavropoulos)

Over the years, Open City and Stavropoulos’s other restaurants have significantly contributed to the vibrance of these neighborhoods’ culinary scene. His focus on establishing genuine relationships is key to his establishments’ successes and makes them one-of-a-kind. His restaurants hand out animal crackers to their customers, further emphasizing Stavropoulos’ passion to spread authentic kindness.

“It looks like any other restaurant,” Stavropoulos said. “But our unique concept is our mission statement, which is to build meaningful connections, one animal cracker at a time.”

By Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal and Derin Kirtman

Visit Open City at the location below, or visit its website at: https://www.opencitydc.com/
2331 Calvert Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

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About the Contributors
Derin Kirtman, Print Publications Editor/MS News Adviser
Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal, Print Publications Editor/MS News Adviser

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