Getting a table at Kappy’s Restaurant & Pancake House might get a little more difficult.
With its 32-year anniversary just few weeks away, Kappy’s was recently named one the top 75 breakfast spots in Chicago by Chicago Magazine. The very same article also recognized Kappy’s as the best place to get a plate of salami scrambled.
“The big deal about or salami is that we keep it whole on the stick,” said George Alpogianis, Kappy’s owner. “Most breakfast places will prepare up to 15 or 20 orders ahead of time and have everything precut and refrigerated. We cut it up right when they order it, so it’s still one moist piece of meat until moments before it’s served.”
Patrons can order their salami cut into small square chunks, thick pepperoni-like slices, or some get the entire egg and salami plate flattened into a pancake.
Alpogianis said Kappy’s had a strong local foundation until a March 9, 2001 Chicago Tribune article made the family-owned restaurant a regional destination.
The article named Kappy’s one of the top 10 breakfast houses in Chicago.
Five years late, the Tribune once again featured Kappy’s, naming it a top senior-friendly breakfast spot.
“That first article really put us on the map, and we’ve gotten press since then, but last week’s article is a cool one,” Alpogianis said. “Chicago Magazine is a big deal, and I’m glad to see that they’re willing to go outside the city of Chicago, because several of these suburbs that immediately border Chicago are one and the same.”
Kappy’s was one of 10 suburban restaurants listed among the top 75.
Other nearby restaurants on the list include The Bagel Restaurant and Deli in Skokie, Gail’s Carriage Inn & Pancake House in Des Plaines, Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop in Evanston, Lucky Platter in Evanston and Walker Bros. Original Pancake House in Wilmette.
Alpogianis said the restaurant community is rather small and that he knows and has worked with people from plenty of the other restaurants on the article’s list.
“I was a chef in Chicago for a long time and I’ve gotten phone calls this week from several of my mentors regarding the article,” Alpogianis said. “And I can only do so much, so I tell them my staff has done a great job working with me and each other to improve service and make this place a second home for our customers.”
When it comes to the food, Alpogianis said times have changed and networking now helps a kitchen maintain loyalty among its customers.
“The old school chefs would protect their recipes to no end, and would often prefer to die with them,” Alpogianis said. “Nowadays, there are guys we’ve built relationships with that we can call up and say ‘Hey, I had this at your place and I liked it. How did you do it, or how can I make mine more unique too?’ and we’d help each other out.”
The number one reason why Kappy’s is so successful, Alpogianis said, is because everyone is treated like family. He said that was the most important lesson his father told him when ownership was handed down.
“I really enjoy my job because I have a lot of fun meeting people,” Alpogianis said. “In this business, if you’re going to be (in management), you have to be a people person. Some of the greatest people in the United States have come through these doors.”
Alpogianis said John McCain, Donna Mills and Harrison Ford have stopped by Kappy’s at various times in the past 15 years, but the more important customers are those who come in regularly and share their lives with the restaurant staff.
Customer traffic has increased since the article came out, however, Alpogianis said he’s more than happy to expand his family.