Both brothers back in the fold (for now) at Jake & Telly’s
For the first time in four years, Jake and Telly's restaurant in Old Colorado City is being run by… both Jake and Telly.
The Topakas brothers started the high-end Greek eatery (as 50-50 partners) in 1997. Both departed in '05, temporarily leaving the business to their staff while they took off on separate travels to expand their individual culinary horizons.
Jake came back first, in '06. Telly rejoined the fold this spring.
“It's awesome,” Telly said. “Just like old times,” Jake agreed.
In his four years away, Telly studied wine-making in Italy, then started an organic Greek wine bar in the Mission District of San Francisco in 2006. Jake had also studied wines in his year away in the Pacific Northwest.
Being wine connoisseurs is not a new pursuit for the two. In the early days of the restaurant, it was their desire to offer top-quality Greek wines that led them to “bring our food up a notch,” Telly recalled.
The two are sons of a restaurant-owning family, one generation removed from Greece itself. The full first name for Telly (the elder of the two) is Elestherios; and Jake's is Iakovos.
Telly cited a few factors for his return to the local restaurant: He was tiring of the late hours at the San Francisco wine bar, his wife was pregnant, a masters degree program was not working out quite right, and California is much more expensive than Colorado.
Although they disliked giving themselves the title, the brothers agreed in a recent joint interview - during which they taste-tested the kitchen's evening “special” - that they essentially serve as co-chefs. Both enjoy cooking, and do it at home as well.
Side note to Jake and Telly's followers: Don't be surprised if one or the other of them takes off again some day (even though both are married now). In the 12-year history of the Old Colorado City restaurant, the brothers figured out that Jake has left the business for a while three times and Telly twice (although there was only the one year when both were gone).
As Jake said, with a grin, “we're not trying to make money, we're trying to enjoy our lives.”
Westside Pioneer article