Charles Spathakis knows how to achieve gourmet flavor using locally sourced ingredients. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Charles was inspired through his study to redefine gourmet using high quality, fresh ingredients at a local level. To achieve bold, natural flavor and give back to the community he grew up with, he turned to his native Connecticut shoreline.


Charles established the Coastal Gourmet Group in 1993 with Mystic Market, the first gourmet market in the area to offer an array of specialty products, prepared foods, and fine desserts. The community embraced its quality and variety, and by 1995, Mystic Market expanded into the catering business. Later, Mystic Market acquired a larger competitor to form a second location, Mystic Market East. This second location allowed Mystic Market Catering to expand and become Coastal Gourmet Catering, which has since built a reputation for creative presentation, culinary excellence and, above all, quality customer service.


With the continued success of his Mystic Market locations, Charles was inspired to open a restaurant that offered contemporary American cuisine using sustainable ingredients and methods. Opened in 2007, and awarded “Best New Restaurant” the following year, Aspen Restaurant and Bar has an inviting, clean design that plays off of its Farm to Chef Program, which connects Connecticut chefs with natural CT Grown products.


In 2010 Charles was awarded the food service contract for Mystic Seaport, which involved re-launching a community institution into a significantly new concept — Latitude 41 Restaurant & Tavern. Latitude’s outdoor patio, dining room, and Shipyard Tavern allows Mystic locals and visitors to experience New American cuisine in the atmosphere that appeals to them most. As with Latitude, Charles has made each addition to the Coastal Gourmet Group about upholding choice, quality, and community.