Deno Frangakis is kind of like Superman. As an attorney, he will rescue you from a minor traffic violation. And when hunger strikes, he’ll save those tastebuds at his family’s Raeford Road eatery, Zorbas.
Deno has been working at Zorbas “since he can remember,” managing every task from baking his favorite dish Patstisio (Greek lasagna) to the grunt work of sweeping the parking lot.
Now, he spends his days seeing clients in his law office or defending them in the courtroom and his nights immersed in Zorbas. “On some days, I can be in court till 8:00 p.m., but I still head straight to the restaurant to help out,” Deno explained. A typical day for the young lawyer/restauranteur usually lasts around 12 hours.
Growing up in the industry helped Deno develop a deep respect for his parents who emigrated to Fayetteville from Greece in the early 1970s. “Seeing my mom and dad work six to seven days a week, all day, really established a work ethic in me.”
After law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, the Terry Sanford and NC State graduate came home to practice law with Williford, Hollers, Crenshaw, Boliek & Frangakis. “Dad always instilled in me the need for education, he really motivated me… No matter what your education is in, it will help you!”
Deno believes that he’s learned great customer service skills at the restaurant that also transition to the courtroom. “In the restaurant business, you interact with a lot of different types of people from all walks of life, same as practicing law,” he said.
Zorbas is truly a family-run business. Deno’s parents Tommy and Marina, are always in and out of the Raeford Road location and his brother John manages the newly opened Hope Mills spot on North Main Street. The siblings work closely together now, “but growing up there was a rivalry,” Deno said while laughing. Still the rivalry pushed the brothers to be successful in their own right. However John is “the expert on Greek food.”
A newlywed, Deno was asked if he would be the one cooking at home. To that he responded “If I keep these hours during the week hopefully she’ll cook a little bit! But, I definitely plan on cooking on the weekends.”
There’s nothing like a man in the kitchen!