was a dream of friends and chef/owners Carly Lilly and George Skandalos as far back as 2001. Having both worked in the restaurant industry for many years, they spoke often of someday building a place of their own. They wanted a warm, cheerful place to spend time hanging out while doing their favorite thing; cooking Peruvian food. In the spring of 2003, they made a phone call, which turned into a lease negotiation, which turned into a design challenge, which turned into a massive construction project, which thankfully resulted in the restaurant they’d dreamt of all along. Thanks to help of all kinds from family and friends, kind-hearted townspeople & local builders, and the excessively high credit card limits of the early 2000’s, Sangria Grille opened its doors July 19, 2004 to rave reviews.
Today, people come from near and far to eat and drink at Sangria Grille. Chefs George and Carly are deeply committed to their community. They frequently travel for research and to further their culinary education, but are always happy to come back home to Moscow, their favorite place on earth! Sangria sources ingredients from over 25 local farmers, ranchers and artisans. The menu is Peruvian with a large focus on seasonality and sustainability. The cocktails are Latin inspired and crafted using herbs from Sangria’s garden, local fruits, and South American spirits. The wine menu features some of the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer as well as a large selection imports from Chile and Argentina.
Carly Lilly is a locally grown Idaho girl. She was born in Coeur'd Alene and raised in Moscow. In 2001 she moved to California to study Nuclear Medicine at UCI but instead discovered, learned to cook, and fell in love with Peruvian food.
Carly has loved cooking food since she was a little girl. She loved to eat it too for that matter, causing her parents to deliver her to sleepovers with her own grocery bag full of snacks lest she eat that family out of house and home. This trend continued into adulthood earning her the nickname "Pig" which she retains to this day.
When she isn't cooking, working on specials or tending the gardens, she focuses on her main obsession which is the sourcing for the restaurants. She spends much of her time figuring out ways to unplug ever further from the conventional food system. She is at her happiest during the hatching and unfolding of any plan that shortens the distance from farm to table.
Carly sees her restaurants as a place of nourishment for her community, and to that end, is always working to incorporate more local, more organic, more sustainable items into the food stream.
She loves searching through seed catalogs to find new and interesting things that her obliging farmer fiancé can grow for her in north Idaho's climate.
She works on legislation to reduce consumer barriers to locally grown, raised and produced food stuffs and believes that the restaurants should function as a nexus for diners, ranchers, farmers, artisans, and other businesses.
The rest of her time she spends hanging out with her friends, her farmer and their gigantic Airedale terrier and The Booboos (her 3 Havanese).
George Skandalos was born in Chimbote, a coastal city in Northern Peru, to a Peruvian-Japanese mother and a Greek father. He was raised in Peru and Greece, before settling down in southern California. Never one to stay still, he moved to the UK to attend King’s College London, where he studied finance.
In 1998 he moved back to SoCal to help his mother open a Peruvian restaurant with the intention to return to England… That never happened. He fell in love with the restaurant business, learned to cook traditional Peruvian food from his mom, travelled and ate his way around Europe and South America and decided to dedicate his life to bringing Peruvian cuisine (peppered with some influences from his travels) to America.
A few years later, he met Carly at Inka Grill where they worked together. They became great friends and fantasized about the kind of Peruvian restaurant they would create if they ever had the opportunity to open their own place. That place turned out to be in Carly’s hometown of Moscow, Idaho.
Now George can be found spending time in his beloved Moscow; cooking in his restaurants, or on Sundays with friends; working with local farmers and ranchers; walking his adorable dog Petals, and trying to beat Nikiforos at Backgammon.
Our staff is an eclectic mixture of homegrown moscowvites and transplants, aspiring and experienced chefs, hardworking university students, bartenders who like to tinker, people's people, and those who just generally love all things food. Their contributions, widely differing personalities and life stories, inspire us, make us laugh, and make us feel grateful to be in this wonderful industry.