The legend of Stoney Knob CafÉ began when Gus Dermas emigrated from Greece to New York City in 1947 in search of a better life.
After 15 years working in the hotel and restaurant industry, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served during the Korean Conflict. Upon returning home from his military service, Gus moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. It was the era of segregation and “sit in’s,” especially in the South. But Gus was a free thinker even then, and decided that everyone was welcome in the restaurant where he worked. As Gus once said, “We’re all human beings and everyone deserves a good meal.”
In 1962 Gus was told about the town of Weaverville, North Carolina. Inspired by the Carolina mountains, which reminded him of his native Micro Horio village in Greece, Gus and his wife, Ismini, whom he met in 1966, became the owners of the Stoney Knob Café. Their sons, John and Yotty, grew up cooking in the kitchen and serving guests.
Years later, after getting their educations and traveling the world, the two brothers inherited the diner from their parents. “This place is our blood, our livelihood, our heritage,” says John.
“We wanted to offer a sampling of the world,” John says. “And at the same time, we treat everyone as part of our extended family.”
In 2000, the brothers initiated the evolution of the diner to its modern day eclecticism, adding the Red Room and eventually the Mediterranean Room. Yotty and John have infused the menu and the mood of the café with their worldly sensibilities.