Pano Karatassos, owner and founder of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group 

Pano Karatassos is the owner and founder of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group:

“Coming originally from Savannah, my wife is also from Savannah — and her parents, her brothers and sisters, every one of them moved to Atlanta over the years — so we would always stop off in Atlanta, and I ate around and I could see that there was a dire need for good restaurants here.

“I was working in Washington, D.C., and I worked with a guy named Bernard Striker, and he opened up a restaurant called Bernard’s on Howell Mill [Road]. So I would stop off and visit him, and one night the landlord happened to be in his restaurant when I was there. So I met the landlord, and I went to her house and had to make a presentation to her mother and all the sisters that were sitting around this dining room table. I was intimidated, I’ll tell you. But they liked what I had to say, I guess. So I got a small business loan, and that’s how we got started at Pano’s & Paul’s.

“In that neighborhood where Pano’s & Paul’s was, when we opened up, there was so much anticipation that it was a Saturday night every night for at least 12 years.

“If we made the competition better, then that’s good, but I’ll just tell you with the number of restaurants and the competition, we have to become better. So it’s kind of switched around, too.”

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