Giannis Kotsos

I am from Greece, Athens. During the summer, I stayed with my grandmother and was inspired by her dedication and creativity towards food, especially Greek cuisine. I always wanted to help her in the kitchen, and spending my summer at her place was a joy.


I later joined the army, and during my time, I couldn’t think of something else that I wanted to do more than become a chef. I began living my dream in 1986, working in kitchens and learning from great chefs who took me under their wing. I gradually developed my skills and moved into different kitchens, carrying my recipe book with me, which included my grandmother’s and father’s recipes and those I learned from the kitchens. Eventually, it was time to open my first restaurant in Athens, followed by two more in Crete, a beautiful island in Greece. Things were going well, but an economic downturn forced me to close my restaurants. Uncertain about my next step, I moved to the USA in 2013.


People asked if I was scared, given the country’s competitive culinary scene and the many chefs that come to make a name for themselves, but I always looked ahead, never around comparing myself to others. I was confident in my abilities and my recipes.
I arrived in Miami and met my current partner while working as a consultant at his Greek cafe in Downtown Miami. He liked my recipes and shared the idea of opening a Greek restaurant, offering me an opportunity for partnership. The rest is history! We opened our first location in a small corner of Downtown Miami, which magically felt like Greece amidst the high-rise buildings that we call Meraki Greek Bistro – a Greek word meaning to do something with soul, creativity, and love. Today, we have four restaurants, including our latest location in Brooklyn, NYC; with each new opening, I feel like I’m getting younger, as sharing my recipes and bringing a piece of Greece to different places keeps me going.

  • Downtown Miami