Theodora McCormick, a 50-year-old lawyer from New Jersey, said she and her husband were slapped with a $557 tab for a dozen oysters and four drinks at the DK Oyster Bar. McCormick said they only ordered to be polite while stopping in to call a cab during a vacation on the ritzy Greek Island.
She said when they complained about the bill a gauntlet of ‘hulking’ male waiters intimidatingly surrounded them until they agreed to swallow the bill.
Speaking to The Sun, McCormick recounted the ‘weird experience,’ and called the restaurant an obvious ‘scam’ in hindsight.
McCormick said she had expected to pay around $250 for the drinks and food, but she is the latest in a long line of hapless tourists to fall victim to the rip-off restaurant. It has a series of dreadful TripAdvisor reviews warning visitors to Mykonos of its overinflated prices.
McCormick’s account comes a week after a young Canadian couple’s headline-making tab of $410 for one beer, one cocktail, a dozen oysters at the same restaurant prompted its owner, Dimitrios Kalamara, to call the couple ‘wannabe influencers’ trying to gain attention.
“I feel foolish because I don’t normally fall for those types of scams”, McCormick explained, “It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing. We weren’t planning on eating there, but we saw the sign”.
McCormick said she and her husband were looking for a taxi back to their hotel on the last day of their Greek vacation when they saw a outside DK Oyster bar saying they could call a cab inside.
“I told my husband, ‘Oh, why don’t we call a taxi and grab a drink,” she said, “That was my big mistake”.
When she asked for a cocktail menu, McCormick said the waiter didn’t bring one and instead listed drink options aloud.
The couple ordered two beers, two martinis, and also a dozen oysters which McCormick said the waiter nagged them into ordering.
When the beers arrived, she said they were enormous – about three pints brimming to the surface of a pair of great glass boots – and the couple braced themselves to pay premium prices.
‘It was Mykonos, we knew it was going to be ridiculous. 250-odd euros, that’s what we were thinking,’ she said, ‘But when we got the bill and it was around 500 euros.’
‘My husband was like, ‘there’s got to be a mistake.'”
She said when they complained ‘a group of big, hulking men’ surrounded them until they agreed to pay the bill. ‘They have no female waiters,’ she added.
Theodora McCormick isn’t the only tourist to have fallen foul of the pricing at DK in Mykonos. The establishment is now so notorious questions are being asked as to how people keep being ripped-off by its owners’ antics:
Earlier in August, Canadian newlyweds Alex and Lindsay Breen were slapped with a $410 check for a beer, a cocktail and 12 oysters.
In May 2019, another group of American tourists were outraged after being charged $1,000 for six plates of calamari, three Caesar salads and six beers.
Owner Dimitris Kalamaras was unrepentant at the time, insisting that the quality of food and stunning beach-side location justified its prices.
“I told my husband, ‘We’re in a foreign country. It’s ridiculous, but it’s obviously some sort of scam. We’ll pay up and try to deal with our credit card company later’.”
She said the restaurant clearly had a “bizarre business model,” which thrived on “ripping off tourists and making people unhappy”.
“They’re never going to have any repeat business, but I suppose they get enough people from around the world that there’s always a supply of fresh meat”.
Early this month, Canadian newlyweds Alex and Lindsay Breen, both 30, shared their experience being gauged by DK Oyster during their honeymoon in May.
The Toronto natives were forced to pay a $410 bill after ducking in for “a quick snack” of one beer, one cocktail and a dozen oysters.
She said: “We went to the oyster bar for a bite to eat and a drink. They immediately said “do you want oysters?” They were very presumptuous. We said yes and he said “a dozen?” so we said yes because a dozen is a typical order.”
“My husband ordered a beer and I asked for a cocktail menu and he came back with the beer but I had to ask again for a cocktail menu and he started rhyming off different kinds of alcohol he had, vodka, gin but I asked for a menu. I didn’t know how it was so difficult to see what they had.”
“He finally brought me back what they consider their cocktail menu. A laminated piece of paper with the types of alcohol listed but it didn’t have the brand or the drinks, nothing. So I said fine I’ll have an Aperol spritz because they clearly didn’t have a menu that they wanted to give me.”
Lindsay said they were in ‘disbelief’ when they saw the tab, as restaurant staff gave them menus which did not list prices. When the staff was questioned on the charges, rather than presenting them with an itemized bill at the table, her husband Alex was taken to a back room to pay. He then was shown their computer screen which was all in Greek. Lindsay says her new husband settled the bill without arguing as he felt intimidated.
Dimitrios Kalamaras – owner of the infamous bar – defended his establishment as the Breens’ story made the rounds online.
“This person who is trying to get famous through Instagram posts under the name of Lindsay Breen, starts with a lie. She claims that she ‘repeatedly asked for a cocktail menu’, and adds that ‘the server didn’t seem to want to provide one”.
“Despite that, she placed an order. An influencer, an experienced well-travelled person who makes a living through their experiences in the world did what most adults in the right mind would not do, ordered drinks and food from a waiter who refused to present a menu.”
Kalamaras insisted that his staff provides menus, and that there is a blackboard with the menu posted on it in the restaurant. He added that it is not the restaurant’s responsibility to make sure every customer does their basic due diligence to acquire a menu if they are concerned about their budget. The manager can help before ordering and consuming, not at the time they are requested to pay the charged amounts. I cannot stop every single person entering our premises and explain the significance of such a practice.”
“Unfortunately, all of us who work in the hospitality sector have been approached by notorious ‘influencers’ who instead of making their living by advertising products and services to their audience they put pressure on certain businesses for exorbitant fees and free meals. In DK Oyster we have advertised in the ways we consider suitable for our restaurant and we will not succumb to the influencers who have been attracted to the beautiful island of Mykonos.”
“I believe that if a person who is not malevolent felt that that they do not get the menu, as is their right before ordering, they should either leave or request to talk to the manager. Unfortunately, there are people in Tripadvisor, only encouraging guests to come, eat and drink whatever they want and then refuse to pay the bills. I understand that some people may find our prices beyond their budget and I totally respect their opinion even if they do not appreciate the value of our services, cuisine, concept and experience.”“Once in a while I post replies on Tripadvisor trying to honestly explain that we are not profiteering. We believe that the value of the offered experience is high and we have no intention to explain why we charge more than a supermarket or a traditional taverna, which can be quite wonderful but is surely a completely different concept than ours.”
Despite Kalamaras’ insistence that the ownness for negative experiences are on the customers, the McCormicks and the Breens are not the only couples to have complained about the restaurant – a look at DK Oyster’s Trip Advisor page shows scores of irate customers who have described similar questionable experiences.
Despite the page being flooded with one-star reviews and other customers alleging they experienced similar treatment as Lindsay and Alex, the owner was unmoved.
TripAdvisor has put a warning on the restaurant’s review page which reads: “Tripadvisor has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property, which may not be reflected in reviews found on this listing. Accordingly, you may wish to perform additional research for information about this property when making your travel plans.”
A TripAdvisor spokesperson said: “The stories coming out from travelers about their experiences at this restaurant are horrifying, and we sympathize with any who may have been affected. These kind of stories really underline just how helpful a resource Tripadvisor is to travelers looking for guidance on where to visit and which places to avoid. A first-hand account of an experience for a place from a fellow traveler is invaluable insight into what can be expected there. The reviews for this business speak for themselves. We’d urge travelers to refer to Tripadvisor when making plans at home or abroad. The Tripadvisor app makes it easy to do this on the go no matter where you are.”