Most Interesting Men of 2023: Markos Panas + Gunther


Each year, VIP Alexandria Magazine accepts nominations and selects the newest class of Most Interesting Men. This year, VIP partnered with The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Each "gentleman" was photographed with an adoptable dog seeking its forever home. We are proud to announce that all dogs featured in VIP have been adopted. Special thank you to our 2023 class of Most Interesting Men for helping us support this amazing charity!


“Serial entrepreneur” is a phrase that deftly describes Markos Panas, a man whose business portfolio includes bakeries, restaurants and a pet supply boutique and groomer. “I love being able to serve the community good food, work with all the great people on our team and make lasting friendships with customers and vendors alike,” says Panas, founder and co-owner of such Alexandria favorites as Bread & Water Company, Bun Papa, Beeliner Diner and the Dog Park. “It is in connecting and collaborating with others that I learn and grow the most. It grounds, humbles and uplifts me, and that strengthens my drive to grow our businesses to be more vibrant, sustainable and useful for the community. The best perks are things like sponsoring local teams and schools, donating breads to shelters and getting to host monthly cat rescue adoptions at our pet store with our amazing partner, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.”


Raised by a father whose restaurants dotted the DMV map over the years, Panas comes by his entrepreneurial drive naturally. In his downtime, however, he has “drive” of another kind. “I have been competing in endurance car racing throughout North America for four years now,” says the accomplished driver, who recently took two class wins at Watkins Glen International and looks forward to an upcoming 24-hour race at Virginia International Raceway and coaching a street survival skills course with BMW CCA at Summit Point Raceway in September.

Throttling back, Panas is a talented artist who practices yoga daily and is in the process of becoming an instructor. He is also a firm believer in meditation and healthy, mindful living and is a practicing Zen Buddhist. The avid traveler’s love for the thrill of adventure recently led him to complete his open-water scuba diving certification in Hawaii, with upcoming plans to sky dive.


“'The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.' I started an entirely new chapter of learning, healing and growing in life with a single choice and first step. We don’t have to know how we’re going to get there; we just have to start."

Previous Article Next Article