If you walk by 371 Washington Street during the lunch rush any day of the week you’d think the Tziavas brothers were giving away free money. The line for their deli fills the restaurant and overflows out the door. Local detectives, courthouse employees, college students, business owners, athletes, families with children, and the occasional celebrity; Jim’s is certainly the preferred watering hole of Brighton residents and passersby.
The Tziavas family, with youngest brother Jim Tziavas at the helm, opened Jim’s Deli in 1991. The family was already old pros in the restaurant business. After emigrating from Kalamata, Greece and starting their family, the Tziavas opened three restaurants in N. Texas in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
In 1985 Jim accompanied his father to the Boston area to scope out the local restaurant scene. Coming from rural Texas, Jim remembers the shock of landing first in Boston’s old ‘Combat Zone’, but the duo quickly found a foothold in Brookline and began managing a local diner. The rest of the family joined soon after and the Tziavas’ restaurant empire grew, opening diners in Woburn, Hyde Park, Coolidge Corner, Norwood, and Allston.
By 1990 Jim and his brother Nick had already become local celebrities. People are immediately drawn to the charismatic and ambitious duo. Naturally, it wasn’t long after opening in 1991 that Jim’s Deli became a local institution.
Today, the Tziavas brothers can still be found prepping Jim’s at 4am every day. Nick gets the daily specials in the oven by 4:30am so we can enjoy a plethora of delicious hot buffet items each day, and then mans the cash register with unwavering positivity and enthusiasm. Jim greets every customer by name from the grill as they enter the restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. When their not in Greece taking care of family, you can still catch the family matriarch and patriarch helping their sons run the diner. You may even find brother Gus grabbing a bite when he’s not busy training new Market Basket management around New England. And we can’t forget big Leo, the unofficial fourth Tziavas brother, who’s been a staple at Jim’s, manning the grill, for over 16 years.
Not only does the Tziavas family provide the community with delicious eats and a comfortable gathering spot, they give back in a big way. Most recently, Jim’s Deli has created an annual fundraiser for Lungevity to support lung cancer research. Last year the group raised over $60,000 for the foundation. November 3rd, 2018 will be the third annual event, which starts with a walk at Sommerville’s Assembly Row and is followed by an auction at The Dark Horse Public House.
Point is, if you’re in the Brighton area and don’t check out Jim’s Deli you’re missing out. Everyone from Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker, to rock guitarist Carlos Carvalho and Jimmy Kimmel have all enjoyed the homecooked goodness that is Jim’s. They’ve been featured on Phantom Gormet, Boston A List, and Travel & Leisure for their outstanding cuisine. But more than any of the celebrity and awards, Jim’s Deli is a place to come and enjoy great food, relax in the comfortable atmosphere, catch up on the latest gossip, and feel like you are a real part of the Brighton community.