Trak Family Story
The Grapevine family restaurant started with the ambition of one man, Michael Trak, also known as “Chef Mike.” Arriving in America in 1971 with no more than a five-dollar bill and a pocket full of family recipes, from the moment he arrived here he began to cook, bake, and sauté his way through the restaurant business. Shortly after, in 1972, his wife Mary followed him.
They continued to work tirelessly side by side for the years to come. While “Chef Mike” was working his magic in the kitchen mother Mary was in the dining room greeting and serving their guests.
In 1993 Chef Mike and Mary decided that enough was enough and no matter what they would open up their own restaurant. Chef Mike searched long and hard to find the perfect location for his new restaurant and the perfect name to go along with it. Neither Chef Mike nor Mary chose the name. In fact, a close family friend who stood beside the Trak’s during all of their hardships picked it. Her name was Tracy, a Greek angel they called her. Unfortunately Tracy passed away in a car accident not long after her name was chosen. Although Tracy’s death was a great tragedy, it did not deter Mike and Mary from honoring the wishes of their fallen friend.
Finally, after months of deliberation, a location was chosen and The Grapevine was born. While construction of the restaurant was finalized, Chef Mike and Mary actually slept in the establishment overseeing every last detail. They dreamed of a place where families could come and feel like they were home. Once the last brick was laid, what had started as only a dream became a beautiful reality. After only six months of opening the doors, the Richmond Metro guide voted The Grapevine the #1 family owned and operated restaurant in Richmond.
With guidance from their parents, Mike and Mary’s children (Mitchell and Marianne) quickly learned the family business and brought a new generation of patrons to the restaurant. Mitchell and Marianne continued to implement the family element into Grapevine with the addition of Mitchell’s wife, Rita. Rita handles the office and administration part of the business. Chef Mike, mother Mary, Mitchell, Marianne, Rita, and many others work every day to make whoever steps through the doors feel like they are at home. Serving delicious Greek and Italian Cuisines.
The Trak family not only treats their customers as if they are royalty, they reflect that same passion onto their employees as well. They are the most humble and generous people you will ever meet. Above all else they put their love of friendship, country, and family before anything else. Their years of experience as a family business not only reflect in the kitchen and the dining room but through the community as a whole. As the years have gone by, the Trak family has given over $500,000 to local charities and organizations, solidifying their role as a prominent Richmond staple. Most recently The Grapevine was rewarded for having the friendliest wait staff by Richmond Magazine and voted best restaurant north of the James.
On behalf of the entire Trak family and all who work with them we would like to extend a big smile and a very friendly hello. Welcome to The Grapevine! We hope you enjoy the tradition that we have built and continue to carry on through the years.
Bon Appetite! From our family to yours.
Michael, Mary, Mitchell, and Marianne Trak.
Meet The Staff
(Chef Mike) Founder and owner of Grapevine. His inspiration and work ethic has made the restaurant what it is today. You can find him in the kitchen cooking and making sure that every dish is served with perfection. His passion for the food and service at Grapevine is why the restaurant has had continued success year after year.
He is one of if not the hardest working man in the industry, humble as you can get and will take the shirt off his back for anyone. In addition, he is a wizard when it comes to restaurant business. We always compare him to Mr. Miyagi always willing to teach us the wax on wax of techniques as it relates to the culinary lifestyle.
By the way you most certainly want to try one of his famous home made rolls! It's his own recipe.
(Mother Mary) Co Founder and owner of Grapevine. A lot of the recipes have been passed down from her side of the family. Mary even helped build the interior of the restaurant with her own hands, turning the gas station into a beautiful restaurant. She was the first cook at Grapevine that worked side by side with (her husband) Chef Mike.
She is responsible for creating the wonderful desserts that delight our guests. These days Chef Mike tries to keep her out of the kitchen as much as possible, mainly for his own safety and sanity.
Mother Mary will come in and check on things daily, and if she sees something not up to her standards… lets just say its best to run! She knows her food and her kitchen very well and she is a huge part of the heart and soul of Grapevine.
Marianne Trak Mize
(Mimi) Co Owner. One of the busiest women in town! Marianne was born and raised in the restaurant business. Not only is she Richmond's premier realtor and wife of Virginia Wine Artist Christopher Mize, she is known to make the bar come alive every evening.
Marianne was the first server ever at Grapevine and is responsible for a lot of the regular clientele and the personal service skills Grapevine staff is known for today.
(Mitch) Co owner & General Manager of Grapevine. Takes pride in Grapevine being family owned and operated. He is in charge of the day to day operations and controls all aspects of the business. He focuses on PR and loves to chat with all guests and get to know people. His ambition has helped make Grapevine a success.
He also serves as the treasurer for The Richmond Food Truck Association.
Coordinator & Treasurer
Co Owner, Treasurer and the hardest part, being Mitchell's wife! Rita is responsible for all financial aspects of the business. She controls all of the finances, billing, payroll, and general accounting. She also serves as the company HR manager. She is known to step in and take care of whatever the issue may be big or small. Rita is known to be selfless and put everyone else first, just don't make her mad because she will let you know in many different languages!
You will see her from time to time fill in to oversee banquets and catering to make sure all the right touches and details are being met.
(Pita Bell) Assistant manager and Event coordinator. Rita is the company's captain and Jack of all trades. You will find Rita managing and coordinating banquets and catering during the week then become super server on the weekends.
She has been with Grapevine for many years and is not just an asset but has become Mitchell's right hand in the day to day operations.
Take out specialist during the week and the hostess with the mostess on the weekends. She also wears many hats and has several roles, that's why she's one of the best! Amanda is in training to become an assistant manager at Grapevine.
She is known for her organizational skills, she has a heart of gold with the guests and has done exceptionally well at any task and role given. Amanda even helped envision the Veranda as well as draw it up, meet with county officials etc. etc. She helped make it happen!
She is truly a gift to us here at Grapevine and can operate the food food truck by day then run the floor by night.
(Tara misu) server specialist / also known as the head server or high definition server. Tara has also been with Grapevine for many years and is the most sought after server at Grapevine because of her genuine ability to care for each guest so well, her speed and personal touch.
She will step in when management is busy. Tara helps keep the dining flow smooth, leads the serving staff, and is usually the one to make sure the restaurant is extremely clean and sanitized every night.
Tara, can always be seen flying through the restaurant, so don't even try and slow her down!
(Reese) also known as Reese's Pieces is definitely one of our top servers and has been at Grapevine for quite some time. She has a ton of her own regular clientele and known for her unique laugh and beautiful smile.
Reese is also known as a workaholic, working 6 days a week with multiple double shifts.
She's truly Grapevines sweet heart!
Food Truck & Outdoor Event Manager
Mourad has raised the bar for the Big Fat Grapevine Truck not only by his attention to detail but with his personal service and knowledge of food.
Mourad was born and raised on delicious authentic Mediterranean foods and truly has a passion for serving the best of the best. Between Mourad's culinary experience and Chef Mike's culinary experience, they truly bring a delicious flare to the food truck scene.
You will find Mourad cooking it up at local neighborhoods, winery's, pools, weddings, and cookouts.
Morgan is such a treasure to us here at the Grapevine. She first started working for us doing our festivals and outdoor events at the age of just 16!
Since then she has grown into one of our amazing servers, so much so that now she even helps with the training of staff in the restaurant.
A nice bonus is that she is also bilingual and speaks Spanish and is a great help with translating. She loves working here and we are so lucky to have her!
Noah & Braxton
(The Trak Brothers), Don't let these little brats fool you, they (not surprisingly) know the business and have worked their way from the dish pit to busboys and excellent salad preps.
Don't be surprised if you're greeted, seated or even offered a drink by one of these boys. They are very young but are turning out to be real charmers and true gentleman, we are all so proud of them!
While this David statute out front is not the real one done by Michelangelo he greets us every day and stands as a symbol of strength and serves as our restaurant mascot!
Truth be told Michelangelo's David has become one of the most recognized works of Renaissance sculpture; a symbol of strength and youthful beauty. The colossal size of the statue alone impressed Michelangelo's contemporaries. Vasari described it as "certainly a miracle that of Michelangelo, to restore to life one who was dead," and then listed all of the largest and most grand of the ancient statues that he had ever seen, concluding that Michelangelo's work surpassed "all ancient and modern statues, whether Greek or Latin, that have ever existed." (Credit)