A consistent crowd favorite since its opening, The Black Cypress in Pullman is Nikiforos Pitsilionis’ first on-his-own culinary endeavor.
The restaurant is coming up on its tenth year and Pitsilionis and his staff continue to wow customers with tasty dipping sauces, flavorful pasta and perfectly roasted chicken.
He started working in his family’s restaurant in Kenai, Alaska at age 13 — wrecked his mom’s car on a joy ride and spent the rest of the summer in the kitchen. In his 20s, “The French Laundry Cookbook” was a huge influence, as was Tom Colicchios’ “Think Like a Chef.” Other than that, travel played a big role in his culinary experiences.
He worked at The French Laundry (Yountville, Calif.) in 2003 and Nectar (Moscow) 2007-9. He is also a partner at Etsi Bravo in Pullman, a cocktail lounge and dance club.
His Primary cuisine and flavors are French, Italian and Greek, for him personally, but Black Cypress is an American restaurant in that, while it may be rooted in his experience, it draws from the backgrounds of whomever happens to be cooking there on any particular day — Thai, Brazilian, Mexican, etc.
His advice for home chefs: Cook what you love to eat, keep cooking it and refine it. In a short time you’ll be making something inimitable that will bring heaps of happiness to the people you love.