CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Galley Hatch owner honored and recognized for giving back to the Hampton community
By Max Sullivan
Posted Nov. 19, 2015 at 3:22 PM
HAMPTON — Hampton restaurateur John Tinios was honored by the Hampton Rotary Club Tuesday night, named “Citizen of the Year” for his business, philanthropy and focus on improving the community.
Tinios, owner of the Galley Hatch and chairman of Experience Hampton, received the award and $1,000 to the charity of his choice at the Ashworth by the Sea Hotel. More than 100 of his friends, family and fellow-business owners attended the event. The night was kept a surprise until he arrived.
“This is a humbling experience,” Tinios said after receiving the award. “I’m much more comfortable giving than I am taking, so tonight is very out of my comfort zone.”
Tinios is known in the Hampton area as an innovator. Most recently, he expanded his Galley Hatch to include a Mediterranean-themed night lounge with a three-season deck, called Tinos. That sort of lounge was lacking in the Seacoast, he said.
Tuesday night, friends said Tinios is as generous as he is innovative. Experience Hampton President John Nyhan said Tinios was key to the founding of the group, which came together in 2010 to bring back Hampton’s Christmas Parade.
Since the formation of Experience Hampton, Tinios has shown more than once his dedication to the project, Nyhan said before the ceremony. In one instance Nyhan recalled from 2011, Tinios along with 401 Tavern owner Desi Lanio raised enough money to save the parade from cancellation due to lack of funds.
At the ceremony, Nyhan read a quote by Tinios published in the Hampton Union in which he said “the biggest asset in the town is the people.” The quote went on to say how he’d never seen people volunteer their time and love to Hampton like they are today.
“What people don’t realize is John is the leader of the force,” Nyhan said.
Central to remarks made Tuesday was Tinios’ parents, Michael and Katherine “Kay” Tinios. Tinios and guest speakers spoke about what an impact the two had on Tinios’ attitude towards business and the town.
Tinios reflected on the family’s move from Dover to Hampton in 1969. His father had owned the Dinnerhorn in Portsmouth for 10 years, but he moved the family to Hampton to take advantage of what he believed would be a promising location on Route 1. The Tinios’s bought a clam shack called the Mustard Pot on the corner of Winnacunnet Road and Lafayette Road, renaming it Savory Square. After a year, a second name came, one that stuck: the Galley Hatch.
Tinios credited his father with having a vision for the restaurant, his mother with having the business sense to make the Galley Hatch become what it is today.
“My father was a risk taker. My mother was the one that made all of those risks actually come true,” Tinios said. “One of the most amazing business people. I put her up against Warren Buffett.”
Hampton Realtor Bob Preston, also of Experience Hampton, said Tinios’ mother was known for having a giving attitude. When she died, Tinios asked that people donate money to Experience Hampton in her honor.
“When (his mother) died, rather than give flowers, he said ‘Why don’t we take donations and give it to Experience Hampton,’” Preston said.
Sen. Nancy Stiles, who could not be there, sent a New Hampshire Senate resolution to be read by Hampton Selectman Jim Waddell, congratulating Tinios.
Rotarians follow what is known as the Four-Way Test, Nyhan said, which asks Rotarians to ask four questions when seeking personal and professional relationships: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? The test is a key qualification for the distinguished award, Nyhan said.
Tinios and his business practice, Nyhan said, meet those qualifications.
“He passes this test with flying colors,” Nyhan said. “In looking at the qualifications, and the qualifications of past recipients, John Tinios fits the model and is very deserving of this year’s award.”