Why you should get on down to Harry’s place

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It takes a brave individual to launch one business. So to launch another one alongside – and in this case in a completely different sector – is a big test of courage. And of entrepreneurial spirit.

But then Harry Kartasis (right) hardly lacks courage. His recent life story oozes that very quality. The Hong Kong travel retail executive turned entrepreneur is a popular but more importantly much-respected figure in Asia’s drinks and duty free sectors.

In February 2021, I told the story of how having worked for several multinational drinks houses, he had set up his own warehousing, logistics and distribution company, Global Drinks Limited, out of Hong Kong.

Almost two years on from that article, I’m delighted to say that Harry’s business is thriving, with Hainan’s status as an offshore duty free market for wines & spirits since July 2020 being a particularly core component. Companies trust Harry and Global Drinks to get brands to market and he enjoys superb relationships with both suppliers and retailers as a result.

Click on the image to read my interview with Harry from early 2021 and turn to page 220

As I mentioned in that feature story, Harry has had to overcome deep personal tragedy in his life, having lost his wife to lung cancer in 2015, just two years after their young son John-Harry had come into the world. Having taken time out to look after his boy through infancy and then taking on the role of General Manager APAC TR for Distell in May 2016, Harry made the decision almost four years later to go out on his own.

He created Global Drinks Limited as a company that would provide brands a gateway to the world without the logistical headache that comes with international expansion. The company focuses on four key business areas: brand management, account management, supply chain and customer service. And it does so expertly. Talk to anyone in the business who knows him (and that’s a lot of people) and you will never hear a bad word spoken of Harry. And at a time when supply chain issues are such a challenge, he has become even more of a go to man.

Click on the image to learn more about Global Drinks Limited

But I mentioned two businesses. What’s the second? Well, as Monty Python used to say, now for something completely different. Together with a partner, Harry recently opened El Gordo Tacos & Grill Factory in Lockhart Road, Wan Chai. It’s a bustling, throbbing area that (like our website) never sleeps, allowing the restaurant to benefit from lots of local workers during the day and plenty of foot traffic during the evenings.

With tourism at last on the rebound here and big events planned (notably the Hong Kong Sevens from 31 March to 2 April), the timing of El Gordo’s opening looks to be optimum. I tried out the restaurant last week in the good company of Harry, King Power Group Hong Kong Managing Director Sunil Tuli and Paccaya Resources Owner Andrew Ford and I can tell you the experience is pretty optimum too.

When Harry met sallying Andrew, Sunil and Martin
With Glenda from the great El Gordo team

It has a great, colourful vibrant vibe (I love the fit-out); the food is bursting with flavour and authenticity; the staff are on the mark and friendly (and you can’t always say that about Hong Kong restaurants); and there’s an interesting Latin America-led wine list to boot as you’d expect with Harry involved.

As with Global Drinks, I’m glad to say that the restaurant has got off to a flying start. No-one deserves success more. So if you’re living in Hong Kong like many of the travel retail community or are simply visiting, get on down to El Gordo Tacos & Grill Factory. Harry’s place.