Never was a nickname so useful: Everyone knows Tom Papadopoulos, but no one remembers how to spell his name. And since he's a pillar of the DC restaurant world, it saves a lot of people a lot of searching.
Here’s Tom in his office this week, leaning back. He’s entitled to: At City Center alone, Tom and his team repped five of the six famed brands that have made that development a new hub of DC dining: Momofuku, Fig & Olive, Mango Tree, DBGB and Mercato. He also reps DC-based Matchbox in its expansion along the East Coast, LA-based Mastro’s in opening at 13th and F this coming May, Phoenix-based True Food in opening stores in Merrifield and Bethesda, and California-based Pizza Studio in coming soon to Dupont. He’s also repped landlords like Boston Properties, Douglas and Vornado. Meaning he not only gets to hang with celeb chefs like Daniel Boulud, Bobby Flay and David Chang, but even glam eaters like Ray, Douglas and Mitchell.
No joke, this is their conference table (we assume the billiard sticks are used to point at charts). Tom’s other six team members include younger brother Charlie (left), son Nick (center), and several other folks whose names we believe he can also pronounce: John Gogos, Constantine Gogos, George Petros and Ralph Tapiero. Tom grew up in Bethesda “when it was a little Mayberry,” and went to high school in Greece when his immigrant dad moved the family back there for four years. After college at Maryland, he took off six months to travel, realized he was “not a 9 to 5 guy,” and that lots of restaurants in DC were owned by Greeks. A friend of his father’s said, “Talk to Al Stern,” the pre-eminent restaurant broker of the day who, for example, repped Sans Souci. He got a job with him for a few years, and then in 1984 struck out on his own.
Today Tom is a golf and tennis addict you can often find at Woodmont or Avenel; he regularly goes with his wife to visit other son Leo in LA, where he works for Apple corporate; still keeps an apartment in Athens (though this is a pic with Koula and the kids in Avignon, France, over New Year's); and eats out three or four times a week. Leading to his favorite benny: “You don’t have to wait for a table.”