Kapnos Taverna became the latest and final restaurant to open at The Hotel at the University of Maryland on Monday evening.
The Hotel's other restaurants — Old Maryland Grill, Potomac Pizza and Bagels 'n Grinds — opened Sept. 8.
The restaurant serves traditional Greek dishes such as spit-roasted chicken, lamb and pork. Its vegetable and seafood dishes include tzatziki, flatbreads and octopus.
This will be the fourth Kapnos Taverna location and the third with a spit roast, said George Pagonis, executive chef and partner at Kapnos Taverna.
Everything served at Kapnos Taverna is made in house, from scratch using quality ingredients, Pagonis said. The Hotel provided the restaurant a walk-in freezer that is still empty because no premade or frozen food is used, he added.
The restaurant currently plans to focus on what has made other Kapnos Taverna locations successful in the past and adjust as needed, Pagonis said. It plans to offer a Saturday gameday menu and a $15 express lunch.
"Every Kapnos we open we adjust to the neighborhood we're in," Pagonis said. "We are not really sure what to expect yet."
Because most of the restaurant's front of house staff are university students, Pagonis asks them for advice and tips.
Kapnos Taverna will serve only dinner the first week, said Abby Steinbock, the restaurant's spokeswoman. The restaurant will being offering lunch Oct. 2 and add brunch on Oct. 7.
"You want to make sure when we do open, we are putting out the best product possible," Pagonis said.
Kapnos Taverna does not just offer Greek food, there are dozens of cocktails, 120 bottles of wine and six beers on tap that Taha Ismail, beverage director and partner at Mike Isabella Concepts, said he selected to pair with the dishes on the menu.
Most restaurants in the area are more "beer-heavy," while Kapnos Taverna has a greater focus on cocktails and wine, Ismail said.
Ismail introduced hand-carved ice and Mediterranean spices and shrubs to the ingredient list to give the selection a more Mediterranean flavor, he said.
Happy hour will be 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, though not available immediately, Steinbock said.
The Hotel informs Kapnos Taverna about upcoming conferences and events the restaurant should prepare for. They expect Family Weekend and graduation to be busy.
Senior computer science major David Reddick said he knew the restaurant was opening and is interested in going there as an Old Town resident.
"I was pretty excited to know there would be other food options," he said.
Jack Cundall, a senior aerospace engineering major, said he doesn't plan on going to Kapnos Taverna because he usually eats with his dining plan.
"If I was going to eat out, I probably wouldn't eat out in College Park," he said.
Pagonis said Kapnos Taverna won't just appeal to university students, but to professionals and local residents as well. He expects students will favor the bar while other customers prefer eating in the main dining room.
"We're new to Prince George's County," Ismail said. "We want to bring something that's different than anybody else is doing."