Southwind Café is restaurateur’s ‘baby’

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Mar 19, 2014 - 10:50 AM

Photo: When he is not in the kitchen, Dean Tsamouras, owner of Southwind Café, can be located at his work table in the dining room greeting customers and working on menus. Shown with him is Annie Lane, general manager and chef, who rarely gets out front. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

When he is not in the kitchen, Dean Tsamouras, owner of Southwind Café, can be located at his work table in the dining room greeting customers and working on menus. Shown with him is Annie Lane, general manager and chef, who rarely gets out front. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

“I’ve been in the restaurant business for 28 years and not a single day have I been sorry. A man once told me that if you loved your job you will never work a day in your life. I love my job.”

Dean Tsamouras has owned and operated Southwind Café in Mathews since Nov. 24, 2012 and also owns the Yorktown Pub in Yorktown. In fact, over 28 years, Dean has owned seven restaurants. “But Southwind is my baby.”

Being in the food service business was not what Dean was studying in college. He was following in his family’s footsteps in dentistry. “I was sleeping late one day when my father came in and said he didn’t think this was what I wanted to do and was buying me a restaurant in Williamsburg, the Williamsburg Deli. That was in 1986 and I was 21 years old; he put me in business.” While working at his new venture Dean attended Johnson & Wales Culinary School and spent two years in the advanced standing program. His new career was well on the road by now.

Even his brother Jimmy got into the restaurant business. The siblings owned and operated together Dots Back Inn in Richmond from 1995 to 2000. “My brother still runs it, but by himself.”

Dean says there is nothing like serving people what they enjoy, and he enjoys the excitement of the restaurant business, especially at Southwind. “People of Mathews are appreciative. They come out and support us. We’re busy enough but I can still have contact with our customers. With a small business like this I can cater to my people. I’ve kept the menu as it was but added some new specials of my own. I have introduced some Greek dishes, which have been accepted very well, and have Greek desserts made by Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Newport News.”

Believing everything should be freshly made with fresh produce, Dean has his cakes made by The Carrot Tree in Yorktown and is now having Short Lane Ice Cream available. “Annie Lane does all the soups, pies, pizza dough, etc. She’s my general manager. If necessary I can jump in the kitchen.”