Fine Dinning Aficionados

 

 

Where do you go when you want a fine dining experience, where they treat you like a celebrity and the atmosphere is superb; where there is an expert to help select a bottle of wine, and most importantly, where the food is good enough for royalty? Why Katz 21 in Corpus Christi of course, the city’s ONLY restaurant where the chef has actually cooked for the queen of England. Oh, you haven’t heard?

 

There’s a new chef in town and it’s spreading like wildfire!

 

 

Theo Dimopoulos, founder and owner of Katz 21, went to the ends of the earth to find the best chef to bring to Corpus Christi. He is both proud and pleased to introduce to the city, Chef Eddie Djilali, who amongst his many accolades did actually cook for England’s Queen Elizabeth. Chef Eddie, an internationally renowned and award winning chef de cuisine, has been practicing the art of culinary science for the past 25 years and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris, with a French Culinary Art Degree Level 5 and Chef Title Holder of 1 Michelin Star. His credentials also include a Master in International Business Degree from Westminster Kingsway College & University, London, UK. Chef Eddie is definitely a major rock star in the culinary world – here and abroad!

In 1976, when Theo Dimopoulos came to America from Greece, he had a mere $50 in his pocket. With fortitude and a will to survive he began his 40 year journey of chasing the American dream. His result was the creation of a diverse portfolio of businesses that include, amongst others, hospitality businesses and real estate, with his pride and joy the highly-acclaimed fine-dining establishment Katz 21, which first opened in 2001 in his beloved adopted home of the city of Corpus Christi.

 

The restaurant he created is an elegant and comfortable affair. Beautiful lighting illuminates crisp white tablecloths featuring gleaming exquisite glass and tableware. Club 21 features a large patio where nights are filled with music, laughter, dancing and fun. Patrons enjoy live musical performances of bands brought in from across the state, along with a rather extensive drink list to choose from, which includes signature drinks such as the Cucumber Martini. Premium cigars are also available. A high end Happy Hour is also offered with drink and food specials that “won’t break the bank”.

 

“Katz 21 is the cutting edge of coolness,” said Bill Been, a friend and mentor of Dimopoulos. Been owns Myron’s Steakhouse, itself a fine-dining establishment in New Braunfels and San Antonio. Of course, to call a restaurant great requires great fare, cuisine that offers more than something to eat, but instead, something to experience. Katz 21’s new chef de cuisine, Chef Eddie Djilali serves up excellence in everything he touches, whether it’s a soup, salad, dessert, or Gulf seafood,  it is “second to none.” The restaurant’s specialty, however, is its corn-fed Midwestern beef which is prepared in several 2,200-degree broilers in the massive 3,000-square-foot kitchen.

 

Only the best of the best meats and seafood are sourced and delivered fresh daily 6-days a week. All are expertly prepared to each customer’s total satisfaction.  At Katz 21 it’s all about the customer’s pleasure. Management and staff go above and beyond expectations ensuring you will not only have an amazingly good time but can also enjoy an excellent meal. Whatever customers choose they’ll get the best at Katz 21.

 

The relationship Theo has with the staff says volumes about what he is like as a person. Some have been with him from the very beginning. He cares about his product and, more importantly, he cares about his people. The mutual devotion between Dimoloupos and his staff extends beyond the business, creating a tight-knit family atmosphere among everyone who works there.

As the newest member of the Katz 21 family, Chef Eddie is excited about his move to Corpus Christi. However, it almost didn’t happen! After the passing of his longtime friend Chef George this past year, Theo made the decision to find the best chef in the business and after looking through hundreds of resumes one stood out above all others, but the problem was Chef Eddie Djilali wasn’t looking for a new job.

 

Since 2011 Chef Eddie had been the Executive Chef at Wildfish Seafood Grille in San Antonio. Within a short period of time he had improved customer satisfaction from 69.5% to 96.4%. Chef Eddie wasn’t looking for a new job and in fact, he actually hung-up on Theo the first time he called. Those that know Theo won’t be surprised to learn that he then jumped in his car and headed to San Antonio.

 

Not long after, Chef Eddie became friends with and a business associate of Theo, after Theo made him “an offer he couldn’t refuse.” He is now the Director of Operations/Partner at Katz 21. He has definitely raised the bar for fine dining in the city.  What an honor and a delight for diners to have someone with his culinary expertise in the Coastal Bend. Thank you Theo for making that drive!

 

Dimopoulos said Katz 21 wouldn’t be where it is today without the wonderful people who help keep the restaurant running on all cylinders. In his praise of his staff, Theo makes a point to mention his General Manager, Sam Carpenter. Starting out as a doorman, Carpenter rose through the ranks to his current position and stated that one of the many things that make Katz 21 so special is that everyone is consistently striving toward perfection.

 

“What makes the staff here so exceptional is their commitment to training, research and in studying anything that goes into being a professional and expanding their knowledge,” Carpenter said.

Dimopoulos’ devotion to his staff is certainly reciprocated. His approach is to give his people the freedom to explore and expand. Carpenter said that one of the aspects he enjoys most about working at Katz 21 is “the trust from Theo that we’re going to do the right thing.”

 

“Theo has taken me into his family,” Carpenter said. “He’s definitely my mentor and it’s a pleasure to work for a generous boss, and especially to watch him work. When I’m in a situation where I don’t know what to do, I ask myself, how would Theo handle this situation? What comes to mind are Theo's own words, "What would you do if you owned the place?"

 

The goal for everyone at Katz 21 is to provide its customers the very best. “We’re committed to giving our customers top-quality products with the best service possible,” Dimopoulos said. “We strive to provide Corpus Christi with a premier fine-dining experience.”

 

Since great wine and great food go hand-in-hand, a trained expert on staff can be helpful to the customer, especially since Katz 21 has a mind-bogglingly large wine stock, holding more than 1,500 bottles of varietals in a temperature-controlled wine cellar. If the customer has a favorite that is not on the wine list, Katz 21 will order it.

 

The customer knows that when they come into Katz 21 they have someone knowledgeable to talk with. Someone just getting into wine may find the Wine List intimidating but Chef Eddie is there to help in finding that perfect bottle, and for the wine savvy, Chef Eddie is always happy to talk about wine. There’s something for everyone. “The name of the game is to get the best possible wine in front of the customer for the price they want to pay,” he said.

 

The restaurant is also a prime location for events, "having a banquet room that can handle up to 150 guests" from wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, anniversaries, birthdays, business meetings, luncheons...and the list goes on.  Recently returning after 3 years in Virginia is Corpus Christi native, Alissa Pena, Marketing Director, who is very excited about being back and the dynamic addition of Chef Eddie.

 

“I love my Katz 21 family and Chef Eddie is the icing on the cake!”

Melanie Coleman, Katz 21’s Events Coordinator, will personally meet with people who want to hold an event to make plans, draw up a menu (usually with one of the chefs) and oversee the party. Like all the staff, Coleman is passionate about her work.

 

“I absolutely love it!” she said. “It’s the greatest place to be and working for Theo is absolutely wonderful!”

 

The dynamic Events Team of Alissa and Melanie are ready to tackle any and all of your event planning. If you can dream it they can make it happen - smoothly, effortlessly and stress free.

 

Service Manager Jaime Laurel Salazar said that part of the Katz 21 experience is valuing each customer.  Love for the job and for the customer helps define the entire experience. “I’ve been in this industry my entire life. I was raised in a restaurant with my family, and everything is about having passion for the guests,” Salazar said. “When you have passion in what you do, it shows.”

 

The Katz 21 family all share in the same passion for the restaurant as founder, Theo Dimopoulos and Chef Eddie Djilali.  Hospitality is a word used frequently and it’s something everyone at Katz 21 takes very seriously. They not only treat you like a valued patron but beloved family as well.  Your concerns and needs are theirs as well and isn’t that what the definition of hospitality is all about? Friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests is their goal; for you to leave happy, satisfied and returning often is what it’s all about.

 

Being passionate and loving what they do is what sets Katz 21 above and apart from most other restaurants. The newest member of the team is no exception. A passion for cooking came to Chef Eddie from his father’s mother. The hot bread she would bake, served with warm olive oil and roasted red bell peppers from the night before was a favorite; at 10 years old he learned from her how to make bread. By age 13 he announced to his parents he wanted to be a chef. His father, a military man and later an ambassador, was shocked. Not knowing what to think of this announcement by his son, he had him meet with psychiatrists and psychologists. The professionals realized Eddie’s undying passion and encouraged his father to accept his son’s gift. He did and gave his blessings. His parents couldn’t be prouder of what he has accomplished throughout his career. Thank you again Theo for making that drive to San Antonio. The addition of Chef Eddie to the Katz 21 team was pure genius!

 

The definition of Katz 21: “Fine dining in elegant surroundings, food fit for royalty, fine wine, exceptional service, a committed staff, a world-renowned chef and an understanding of the true meaning of hospitality.” Come by and experience for yourself what culinary wonders Chef Eddie is creating in the kitchen and experience true culinary passion. You too will be eating and being pampered like a royal - "because you deserve it"!

 

Katz21 Steak & Spirit Hours

Monday-Thursday: 5pm-10pm

Friday & Saturday: 5pm-11pm

 

Club 21 Hours

Monday-Thursday: 4pm-Midnight

Friday & Saturday: 4pm-2am

Happy Hour Food and Drink Specials 4-7pm

 

Address:

5702 Spohn Dr.

Corpus Christi, TX 78414

(361) 884-1221

www.katz21.com

 

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