Theo's Taverna assortment of dishes.

Finding Theo’s Taverna is like crossing a threshold from downtown Pinehurst to the sunny Mediterranean: Just off Chinquapin Road, a short walkway passes behind a row of red-brick shops and opens onto a courtyard full of classical statuary, lush greenery, and tables beneath a pergola. Servers circulate between the patio and the restaurant — accented with deep, rich woodwork and high, vaulted ceilings — delivering plates of hummus and stuffed grape leaves, olives and feta, lamb shank and seafood pasta. Many dishes are prepared with the restaurant’s own extra-virgin olive oil, a family recipe passed down to owner Elias “Louis” Dalitsouris from his father and grandfather. Now, he and his wife, Helen, split their time between North Carolina and the Dalitsouris estate in Sparta, Greece, where the fruit of their 4,000 olive trees is pressed and bottled, then sold back at the restaurant in Pinehurst — continuing a generations-old tradition.

Part of a Photo Essay in May 2018 issue of Our State
Written By Katie Saintsing • Photography By Emily Chaplin & Chris Council