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Yianni Karapanagiotis

Kara Restaurant Group
President
Raised by parents who immigrated to New Jersey from their ancestral home in Greece, Yianni Karapanagiotis dove into the restaurant industry at age 16 when he began working as the self proclaimed "greatest dishwasher of all time" at the local dive steakhouse. Yianni picked up a few tricks on his nine-year rise through the ranks at 22 restaurants,  ranging from pizzarias to Michelin experiences in the United States and Canada.  Then, while working as the director of operations for a restaurant group, Yianni definitely concluded that he never wanted to be an employee again, driving him to begin curating his portfolio of businesses, including restaurants, catering, distribution, and real estate.  Yianni left his downtown Philly loft in 2001 and headed to the southernmost point of New Jersey to start his first restaurant. Despite the daily ridicule he received from family for the late nights he spent scrubbing grout with a toothbrush until 2a.m. and friends for leaving a culinary hotspot to feed shoobie masses in the summertime,  Yianni remained committed to making the most of his opportunity. From those first days with just 2 front-of-house employees and himself in the kitchen as the cook, prep, and dishwasher, eight popular restaurants,  a catering company, and a distribution operation were born.  Today Yianni lives in Cape May Court House, New Jersey, where he oversees Kara Restaurant Group* operations while expanding the group's portfolio of restaurants and real estate and finalizing his first book, Restaurant Punk. Yianni has two sons, Michael 20, attending Berklee, and George, 17, a high school senior.  *Georges Place, Georges Place Cape May, Georges Place Cape May Court House, Georges Place Wildwood Crest, The Younger Brother, Vintage, Scola, Shamone, Michael Kara Catering, and Kara Distributions.   Visit KaraRestaurantGroup.com for more information.