The Alpogianis Group (Tag) Restaurants, Chicago

Five years ago, Gus Alpogianis, 72, bought out his partners in Kappy’s Restaurant and Pancake House, the restaurant he’d run in Morton Grove since 1978, and turned it over to his chef son, George Alpogianis, now 38. Now, George manages Kappy’s and Buckingham Cafe & Grill in Grant Park, and his brother Manolis D. Alpogianis, 34, oversees the six eateries in TAG Restaurants’ quick-service division, including three America’s Dog locations. George, left to right, Gus and Manolis Alpogianis of TAG Restaurants.

When you worked at your father’s restaurant growing up, did he treat you differently than other employees?

George: He pushed me real hard because I was the boss’ kid. He didn’t want some spoiled brat in there just coming to work and getting a paycheck and not doing anything. I bused tables, I was a pot-washer – and not for a couple of weeks; I’m talking months and months. That’s when he said, “It’s time for you to go to culinary school.”

How do you interact now?

Manolis: When we meet on Sundays, there’s a lot more bouncing ideas off each other. We’re all equally setting the pace, where before, he set the pace.
George: My father’s been there already – from A to Z, he’s done it. If something happens, he’s a phone call away. He’s got the answers.
Gus: Where I hit the humdrum, George came up with beautiful ideas, changed the menu to a better menu and worked with the chef.
Manolis: Dad’s restaurant needed some young blood, and George provided that, but what also needs to be recognized is that Dad gave us the resources. We remodeled the kitchen, we remodeled the bathrooms, (created) new menus. My brother was 33 at the time, and a bank doesn’t always give those opportunities.

Is it more difficult working with family when a business goes through tough times?

Manolis: When the economy went soft a little bit, our sales weren’t as strong downtown. But not once did my family pressure me – like, “Why aren’t sales up?” It wasn’t like answering to 100 shareholders10_12_image.jpg


7200 West Dempster Street

Morton Grove, IL 60053

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Phone. 847.470.1900

Fax. 847.470.0252