A chat with new Cafe Helios owner

Cafe Helios returns to Glenwood South in Raleigh with a new owner and a new look.
Cafe Helios returns to Glenwood South in Raleigh with a new owner and a new look. Courtesy of Cafe Helios

Shervin Tahssili is a designer at heart.

You can see that when you walk into the renovated, more brightly-colored Glenwood South cafe and lounge. There’s a new bench in the front patio, a new bar that serves that patio as well as the cafe and an expanded back patio if patrons want a more secluded space away from busy Glenwood Avenue.

Tahssili, owner of the Tuscany Construction Group, has been a design-focused residential and commericial builder in the Triangle since 1999. His wife, Azita, runs the real estate side of the business. Tahssili always admired Cafe Helios when it opened in 2002, featuring a sleek design by Raleigh’s Clearscapes architecture firm. His firm had offices up the street.

“This was ahead of Raleigh’s time back then,” Tahssili said.

So when former owner Gray Medlin closed the cafe at the end of 2014, Tahssili approached Medlin about buying the business, the name and the building. The vision, Tahssili said, was to keep the existing Helios with its large following but with a facelift with the help of Raleigh interior designer Christine Rosario.

Cafe Helios, which opened Monday, is a coffeehouse and cafe starting at 7 a.m. serving coffee, tea, breakfast, salads and sandwiches. After 5 p.m., the cafe turns into lounge with dim lights, candles, music, a cocktail menu and boutique wine list. The cafe also will serve weekend brunch focusing on ingredients from local farms. The chef is Michael Hamby, who previously worked at Southern Season, Carolina Country Club and a food truck owner.

“The focus,” Tahssili said, “is to satisfy my clients and make them come back and make it a very comfortable place from the morning to night. That’s what we’re trying to recreate.”

Hours: 7 a.m.-until. Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-until Sundays.

Info: 413 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh,

Weigl: 919-829-4848;

Twitter: @andreaweigl