Woman speaks out about a Mykonos restaurant's alleged predatory prices

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Every man in the restaurant got up and surrounded us’: Seattle woman corroborates mounting claims against infamous Mykonos restaurant accused of preying on female tourists after her party was forced to pay $1,640 for two dishes, salad and bread

  • Cheryl Lamphere, 43, from Seattle said she and her group of girlfriends had no other option but to pay the eye-watering price after ordering one plate of calamari, one order of lobster pasta, a salad, and bread
  • The mother-of-two said the group visited DK Oyster on May 3 and their first evening in Mykonos was ruined after male staff at the restaurant cornered them when they even dared to dispute the astronomical tab 
  • ‘Every man in the restaurant got up and surrounded us, there were at least five of them. It was a very, very scary situation… I must add, they were all dressed in black, it was sort of gangsterish,’ Lamphere said 
  • Texas mother Brenda Moulton and her 19-year-old daughter Kaylea claimed they were also scammed into paying $641.15 for two crab legs and two mojitos when they visited in May
  • Moulton said a complaint she made about the restaurant with local police is still in the early stages, but her travel agency, her attorney and locals are doing everything in their power to get the business shut down 
  • A Seattle woman has come forward to corroborate claims against a Mykonos restaurant owner and his allegedly aggressive and borderline predatory tactics against tourists visiting the Greek island.

    Cheryl Lamphere, 43, told DailyMail.com that her group of friends were misled, intimidated and scammed into paying $1,640 for food that did not justify the outrageous price. 

    Lamphere and her group of girlfriends said they had no other option but to pay the eye-watering price after ordering one plate of calamari, one order of lobster pasta, a salad, and bread at the infamous DK Oyster restaurant in Platys Gialos. 

    The mother-of-two said the group visited the picturesque island on May 3 and their first evening was ruined after owner Dimitris Kalamaras and male staff at the restaurant cornered them when they even dared to dispute the astronomical tab. 

    ‘Every man in the restaurant got up and surrounded us, there were at least five of them, almost blocking us in. It was a very, very scary situation because we were six women being surrounded by five men… I must add, they were all dressed in black, it was sort of gangsterish,’ Lamphere told DailyMail.com on the phone.  

    Lamphere, a marketing manager, said that they – like several other customers who have spoken out about the business’ alleged intimidation tactics – were approached on the beach by a ‘pushy’ waiter who only flashed the menu at them briefly before pushing them inside.  

    She said the food, and its taste especially, did not justify the massive bill. 

    ‘You know, they pride themselves in using [select ingredients], but the lobster was awful. Everything else was okay, but the lobster was possibly the worst I’ve ever had. Honestly, it was barely edible,’ Lamphere added.

    Texas mother Brenda Moulton and her 19-year-old daughter Kaylea claimed they were also scammed into paying $641.15 for two crab legs and two mojitos when they visited the restaurant in May. 

    Moulton told DailyMail.com the tactics used against her and her daughter were eerily similar to what Lamphere complained about. 

    ‘This has been going on for a long time… [and] someone is going to get hurt. They’re so bold, and so not afraid of the police, or the government, or anything.’ Moulton said. ‘I think he targets women and tourists… They laughed at us [when we said] we’d call the police. They do not care.’ 

    She said a complaint she made about the restaurant with local police is still in the early stages, but her travel agency, her attorney and locals are doing everything in their power to get the business shut down.  

    Cheryl Lamphere, 43, (center left) told DailyMail.com that her group of friends were misled, intimidated and scammed into paying $1,640 for food that did not justify the outrageous price at DK Oyster in Mykonos

    Cheryl Lamphere, 43, (center left) told DailyMail.com that her group of friends were misled, intimidated and scammed into paying $1,640 for food that did not justify the outrageous price at DK Oyster in Mykonos 

    The mother-of-two said the group visited the picturesque island on May 3 and their first evening was ruined after Owner Dimitris Kalamaras (pictured) and male staff at the restaurant cornered them when they even dared to dispute the astronomical tab

    The mother-of-two said the group visited the picturesque island on May 3 and their first evening was ruined after Owner Dimitris Kalamaras (pictured) and male staff at the restaurant cornered them when they even dared to dispute the astronomical tab

    Lamphere  said the food, and its taste especially, did not justify the massive bill

    Lamphere  said the food, and its taste especially, did not justify the massive bill

    'You know, they pride themselves in using [select ingredients], but the lobster was awful. Everything else was okay, but the lobster was possibly the worst I've ever had. Honestly, it was barely edible,' Lamphere added

    ‘You know, they pride themselves in using [select ingredients], but the lobster was awful. Everything else was okay, but the lobster was possibly the worst I’ve ever had. Honestly, it was barely edible,’ Lamphere added

    The group paid $1,640 for food that did not justify the outrageous price, they said

    One of the six receipts

    Lemphore and her friends were charged  $1,640 for food that did not justify the outrageous price, they said. They provided 5 out of four receipts to DailyMail.com 

    The group of girlfriends had felt full of excitement at the prospect of going on an eight-day trip to Santorini and Mykonos, leaving their husbands and children behind to enjoy a much-needed reset in company of each other. 

    The group thought the trip would go smoothly, and although they were aware of the dangers that came with visiting a foreign country, they did not expect to be taken advantage of at a fine dining establishment. 

    ‘We are strong, professional women, we keep wondering how did this happen to us?’ Lamphere told DailyMail.com. 

    Around 7:30 p.m. on May 3, the friends decided to explore the area around the hotel deciding they wanted to have dinner somewhere different than the hotel’s restaurant and went on a stroll around the beach to choose a place to eat.

    Lamphere said they were hurried inside DK Oyster by a waiter who only showed them the menu briefly before he rushed them to order the minute they were sat at their table. 

    She said the group was able to see prices averaged around $32 and decided to order three dishes because they were not especially hungry, vehemently gesturing and repeating to the staff they only wanted one order of each. 

    ‘We were like, ”hang on,” we need to decide on what we want to order,’ she said. 

    At the insistent request of one of the women, the server showed her the menu, but didn’t let go of it. 

    ‘He held it, just long enough to see what we wanted. We were not super hungry, so we agreed on ordering just a few different things to share,’ Lamphere said. 

    They ordered the lobster pasta, one order of calamari, and one order of salad and bread. One of the friends bought a $214 champagne bottle that was charged immediately and separately. 

    Moulton and her 19-year-old daughter Kaylea claimed they were also scammed at the restaurant. Moulton told DailyMail.com the tactics used with her were eerily similar to what Lamphere complained about

     Moulton and her 19-year-old daughter Kaylea claimed they were also scammed at the restaurant. Moulton told DailyMail.com the tactics used with her were eerily similar to what Lamphere complained about

    They experienced the scare of their lives on May 13 when intimidating staff at DK Oyster bar told them they wouldn't return to the US if they refused to foot the astronomical $640 bill, Brenda claims

    They experienced the scare of their lives on May 13 when intimidating staff at DK Oyster bar told them they wouldn’t return to the US if they refused to foot the astronomical $640 bill, Brenda claims

    The pair had ordered two crab legs and two mojitos after staff insisted for them to order food

    The pair had ordered two crab legs and two mojitos after staff insisted for them to order food 

    The were charged $640 - 600 euros - for the food. The bill led to a confrontation between the Moultons and staff

    The were charged $640 – 600 euros – for the food. The bill led to a confrontation between the Moultons and staff 

    Lamphere said that they thought it was odd that the server asked for the card and kept it, putting it inside a drawer, but one of the friends kindly brushed off their concerns as a possible cultural difference. 

    In hindsight, that was one of many missed red flags, the group now believes. 

    Despite going out of their way to specifically tell the server they only wanted one order of each, when the food arrived at the table, the group knew the staff had seized on the language barriers excuse to purposely charge them for food they were not going to be able to finish. 

    ‘It was a massive platter. And we looked at it. There are six of us, we are all women. They knew they were screwing us over, it was all huge amounts of all food,’ Lamphere said. 

    They knew right there and then that the tab would be a lot more expensive than what they were expecting, but did not quite see the scope of the situation they were in. 

    Lamphere said they were continually ‘pestered’ by servers who urged them to order oysters. 

    ‘We were like, ”No, we do not want the oysters,’ Lamphere said, adding that they were still recovering from the huge disappointment that the ‘awful’ lobster pasta had been. 

    The ladies continued to dine until they were ready to leave the restaurant, but were then confronted by staff who told them they had to go inside the restaurant to pay the bill. 

    ‘Our waiter said ”you need to come to our office to pay the bill.” They didn’t give us the receipt and told us it was 1,500 euro,’ Lamphere said. 

    Food menu with prices is displayed outside the restaurant as it appears in a Facebook promotional video

    Food menu with prices is displayed outside the restaurant as it appears in a Facebook promotional video

    Brenda said that although she and her daughter were not hungry on the day of the incident at DK Oyster, they had ultimately decided to enjoy the sun on one of the sunbeds that the restaurant's waiters so insistently offered

    Brenda said that although she and her daughter were not hungry on the day of the incident at DK Oyster, they had ultimately decided to enjoy the sun on one of the sunbeds that the restaurant’s waiters so insistently offered

    She said that the restaurant’s owner, Dimitris Kalamaras, who is allegedly notorious in the area for dismissing customers’ concerns, told them that was the price they were to pay without giving them an itemized receipt. 

    The women were then cornered by five waiters dressed in black when they raised questions about the bill, Lamphere said. They reluctantly paid their bill when the situation grew increasingly tense. 

    ‘We were not walking away because, clearly we ate there. So, we are just looking at each other and saying we just have to take this up with our credit card company because we don’t have any other choice. These men [were] surrounding us, almost blocking us in,’ Lamphere added. 

    Brenda Moulton and her 19-year-old daughter Kaylea, who raised a complaint with local police after they claimed to be harassed and intimidated at the restaurant, also said they were instructed to pay inside the restaurant

    ‘It was very dark, and he leaned towards me. Suddenly, I realized, oh my god, I am alone in this restaurant, no one would probably hear me [If I scream] because the music is loud,’ Moulton told DailyMail.com.

    Being in a foreign country, you are not completely sure who to trust. So, it is very disorienting what happened, very scary.

    ‘And, you know, Mykonos people are victims as well… Everything else we did there was so wonderful. [And after the incident], people took care of us and made sure we knew that we were okay. They embraced us.’

    Moulton said that a lot of the time local police can not do anything because the complaints are focused on the high prices, but they have urged people to come forward with their experiences with the business’ predatory tactics. 

    She added that a journalist with the Greek outlet THEMA, which first reported her story, is working along with police and an attorney hired by Moulton to hold DK Oyster accountable. 

    Prices for bottles of champagne are displayed on refrigerator inside the restaurant

    Prices for bottles of champagne are displayed on refrigerator inside the restaurant

    They were told the sunbeds were free and were lured in by insistent staff, customers have complained

    They were told the sunbeds were free and were lured in by insistent staff, customers have complained 

    Lamphere, a marketing manager, said that they - like several other customers who have spoken out about the business' alleged intimidation tactics - were approached on the beach by a 'pushy' waiter who only flashed the menu at them briefly before pushing them inside. A menu shared on the restaurant's Tripadvisor show the prices

    Lamphere, a marketing manager, said that they – like several other customers who have spoken out about the business’ alleged intimidation tactics – were approached on the beach by a ‘pushy’ waiter who only flashed the menu at them briefly before pushing them inside. A menu shared on the restaurant’s Tripadvisor show the prices

    Lamphere said on their walk to the hotel, the women were fuming, and told staff about the awful experience they had just had. 

    ‘The lady put her head down. They told us, ”we are supposed to tell all our customers to avoid going to that restaurant. I’m so sorry. I don’t know how they’re still in business.”’

    ‘But we don’t blame them because, you know, they have a lot of people coming in and out,’ Lamphere said of the hotel staff. 

    Lamphere said DK Oyster’s alleged strategy is to not let customers see the menu, which states that they charge per-100-grams.  Then they allegedly do not disclose to customers that one order equals 300 grams of the food. 

    ‘So in reality, when you get one order of something, you are really getting three,’ Lamphere said. ‘When we were leaving we saw this old couple who had ordered a 15-euro-special, we keep wondering what happened to them.’ 

    Other customers who have complained on the restaurant’s Facebook page claim the restaurant takes advantage of Americans’ lack of familiarity with the kilogram system. 

    ‘It was a terrible, terrible feeling. And I told them, ”you know exactly what you are doing, you guys are operating an awful business. You are awful people,” Lamphere said.

    ‘The most terrible experience ever is that it goes to show how intimidation and force can be used to scare people. We are strong, smart women and we were taken advantage of,’ she added. 

    Lamphere said that when they returned home, the friends disputed the charge with their credit card’s company, but they haven’t received an answer about their decision yet. 

    Interestingly, Lamphere said that in the process of reviewing the charge on her banking app, she realized the company that appeared to have charged the price was Alamo Rent a Car, an American rental car agency. 

    She said she and her group of girlfriends now want to make as many people as possible aware of the restaurant’s alleged tactics.

    ‘[This is not happening to us] ever again. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up,’ she said on the phone. 

    Lamphere  said that the restaurant's owner, Dimitris Kalamaras, who is notorious in the area for dismissing customers' concerns, told them that was the price they were to pay without giving them an itemized receipt

    Lamphere  said that the restaurant’s owner, Dimitris Kalamaras, who is notorious in the area for dismissing customers’ concerns, told them that was the price they were to pay without giving them an itemized receipt

    Responding to a negative review on the website, the restaurant answered: 'There is not free country in the western world that would force us to explain to each customer why we charge the way we do.'

    Responding to a negative review on the website, the restaurant answered: ‘There is not free country in the western world that would force us to explain to each customer why we charge the way we do.’

    Dozens of reviews on Tripadvisor point out similar complaints to the ones made by the Mouldons

    Dozens of reviews on Tripadvisor point out similar complaints to the ones made by the Mouldons

    People claiming to have visited the restaurant warned others to avoid DK Oyster's 'con-tactics' 'like the plague, and branded the establishment 'one of the sketchiest' on the island

    People claiming to have visited the restaurant warned others to avoid DK Oyster’s ‘con-tactics’ ‘like the plague, and branded the establishment ‘one of the sketchiest’ on the island

    The restaurant’s Tripadvisor page is flooded with telling reviews of customers who alleged that they were lured with the same strategy – overly insistent ‘shady’ waiters who offered ‘free sunbeds’, vague descriptions of the menu prices and ultimately astronomical bills. 

    Responding to a negative review on the website, the restaurant answered: ‘There is not free country in the western world that would force us to explain to each customer why we charge the way we do.’  

    ‘However, we have often tried to explain the great cost of operating a business like ours. Would you ask Bugatti why they charge as much as they do? Would you ask all the luxury brands to justify their prices? You may opt for cheaper products and services. There is no monopoly.’ 

    When reached out by DailyMail.com about DK Oyster’s over 500 negative reviews, Tripadvisor said they regretted so many visitors had had horrible experiences at the restaurant. 

    They wrote: ‘This story is totally horrifying, and we sympathize with this family and others who may have experienced anything like this. This kind of horror story really underlines just how helpful a resource Tripadvisor is to travelers looking for guidance on where to visit.

    ‘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.’