Meet the Man Behind Yolk Restaurants

From French toast to coffee, West Palm Beacher Taki Kastanis is busy building a breakfast empire

Breakfast spread at Yolk
Breakfast spread at Yolk.

As the child of restaurateurs, Taki Kastanis has early memories of growing up inside his parents’ diners. “I’d do homework in a booth,” he says. “At times, I’d jump in and help bus tables. It was a big part of our lives.”

A recent transplant to West Palm Beach, Taki Kastanis is the restaurateur behind Yolk.
A recent transplant to West Palm Beach, Taki Kastanis is the restaurateur behind Yolk.

Hailing from Greece, Kastanis’ parents always had around five restaurants at a time in the Chicago area. He notes that while there are a lot of Greek influences in New York, Chicago, and Detroit diners, his parents offered traditional American breakfast fare. When it came time to carve his own path in the restaurant industry, Kastanis wanted to blend his experience with the real estate know-how he garnered in college. 

“Having the old-school training from my childhood and the new-school training from college, I wanted to put the two together and do things more efficiently … without losing the personal connection with guests,” he says. 

In 2006, he opened his first Yolk restaurant in Chicago, serving creative brunch fare tinged with his personal history. “I wanted to bring some of my family’s original recipes and dishes,” notes Kastanis, citing examples such as eggs Benedict, pancakes, and waffles. “I wanted to bring those family recipes to the mix but also spice it up a little bit, put a little spin on it.” 

Bagel sandwiches at Yolk
Bagel sandwiches at Yolk.

Since then, Kastanis has opened Yolk locations in Illinois, Indiana, Texas, and Florida, in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and—most recently—Boynton Beach. He moved to West Palm Beach with his wife and four young children three years ago, and he is now an investor in Celis Juice Bar, which is slated to open a new location in Delray Beach this summer as well as in the forthcoming Nora neighborhood. In addition to continuing to expand Yolk, Kastanis is looking to grow his Espresso and Milk coffee shop concept in Chicago.

Nutella crepes at Yolk
Nutella crepes at Yolk.

While he remains a consummate Chicagoan, Kastanis is enjoying the small-city feel of West Palm Beach and sampling the region’s burgeoning restaurant scene. “There are some great restaurants, a lot of mom-and-pop types where the owners live in the neighborhood,” he says. “We like the fancy restaurants on the island where you can go for a date night, [and] we like the mom and pops near us that we can walk to. You have to seek them out and ask friends for their favorites.” 

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