Giorgios Bakatsias is expanding his local culinary empire with a new, Italian family-style restaurant at 201 South Elliott Road in Chapel Hill. 

Osteria Georgi is named for Bakatsias’s good friend, the late George Tarantini. The restaurant is slated to open in the former Living Kitchen space later this spring and will serve brunch, lunch, and dinner, and will focus on pastas, braised meats, and antipasti, with special attention to locally-sourced ingredients. 

Tarantini, the beloved longtime coach of N.C. State’s men’s soccer team, was born in Italy and died in Raleigh in 2019 at the age of 70. 

“George had such love and respect for hospitality, and for all the small details that make it such a special way of connecting with each other,” Bakatsias said in a statement. 

Daniel Jackson, a Chapel Hill native and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, joins as partner and chef. Jackson is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America; during his time in New York, he worked as a line cook at the three-Michelin- starred Eleven Madison Park, and at Union Square Hospitality Group, where he worked as Danny Meyer’s executive sous chef for catering and events, and as executive chef at the Museum of Modern Art, respectively. 

Jackson moved back to Chapel Hill last year with his wife and three young children in order to be closer to family. 

“We are especially proud to be opening Osteria Georgi with Chef Daniel Jackson, a Chapel Hill native who has just returned to the area after polishing his talent in some of the country’s most celebrated kitchens,” Bakatsias said in the statement. 

Amid a difficult time for the restaurant industry, Bakatsias—who owns several restaurants throughout the Traingle, including French bistro Vin Rouge and  Mediterranean restaurant Parizade—has seen a busy year. 

At the onset of the pandemic, he joined restauranter Matt Kelly in a fight against major property insurer Cincinnati Insurance Company, and managed to eke out a small but groundbreaking victory for small business owners in November. That same month, he also reopened Kipos Greek Taverna—which he had relocated from downtown Chapel Hill, where it had been a longtime fixture of Franklin Street—to its new home in Eastgate Crossing Shopping Center, where it now enjoys a garden patio. 

But the pandemic shapes every new business proposition, of course.

Last year saw a boom in grocery-style restaurant offerings, and the Osteria concept includes a market that will sell house-made items, such as fresh bucatini and pomodoro sauce for home cooks to take back to their kitchens. It’s a bet on a new kind of dining style—and a warm, familiar kind of neighborhood experience. 

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