For George Stergios, operating partner at Knife in The Shops at Willow Bend, the restaurant business is all about tackling problems as they come and being grateful for problems that pass him by. 

At its core, Knife is more than a high-end steakhouse. It’s a dining spot with a luxurious air that entices hungry office workers to talk business. And it’s a reliable local spot where families can expect a meal that satisfies everyone.

Photography by Kathy Tran

It’s also a landmark for those looking to celebrate with a vast assortment of dry-aged steaks and accompanying wine. Knife has tailored itself to be a bit of something for any occasion.

“I think that prior to the pandemic, we had really started to take off,” Stergios says. “Things were getting better, but then people started to not travel as much. They started to work remotely. As things start to open back up, things should get better. Luckily, we have built a reputation with people knowing and reading about us.”

During the past year, labor shortages have been a source of struggle for many business owners. Stergios says Knife has been both lucky and benefited from planning ahead.

“We’ve been a lot more fortunate here, staffing wise.” Stergios says. “I feel like we have the best staff we’ve ever had. Sure, there are some holes to plug, but I think (we’re doing well) because we’re a small operation, and I’m here working every day with everyone else. When you’re on the front lines, you’re able to provide support where it’s needed to limit frustrations.”

The new age of food delivery creates additional management challenges: While many restaurants have been strong-armed into finding ways to make their food travel-ready, Knife decided to limit their off-site sales.

“Our food doesn’t travel well,” Stergios says. “When you have a 32-ounce, 90-day-aged ribeye, you order a medium rare, and by the time you get it home it’s medium well. You’re upset, and it just ruins the experience. I would rather not put ourselves, and our customers, into that situation.”

Instead, Knife ventured into the “butcher shop” aspect of the food business, allowing customers to buy certain amounts of its dry-aged meats to take home and cook themselves.

 Through everything, Knife and other Plano restaurants remained open when possible and strived to keep their “experience” as consistent as possible.

 Stergios says it all boils down to the kind of people who visit his and other restaurants regularly. 

“Here, there’s an element of neighborhood, of family, of regulars. We have a lot of locals who really support this location, and that’s why we just love the area.”

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