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The Peerless to renovate and expand

Robert Houk • Jan 3, 2020 at 8:48 AM

Officials with The Peerless Restaurant, one of Johnson City’s oldest family-owned businesses, announced plans Thursday for a major redevelopment of the iconic eatery and adjacent retail space.

The 82-year-old restaurant will be closed for the next six months while the building undergoes extensive exterior and interior renovations. The redevelopment will also result in a new bakery, a tavern and new retail businesses at the site on 2531 N Roan St.

The iconic eatery — dubbed as “Tennessee’s oldest independent restaurant” — has been a favorite dining venue for area residents, as well as visiting politicians, athletes and celebrities for many decades.

Gary Kalogeros, whose grandfather opened the restaurant in 1938, said the project will allow his company to “redefine the Peerless experience, and transform it into a modern steakhouse.”

Kalogeros is owner and president of the newly created Peerless Hospitality Concepts Inc. He said the redevelopment provides an opportunity to combine his family’s development and restaurant businesses that are now entering a fourth generation with his eldest son, Demetri Kalogeros, serving as part of their management.

The new Peerless Steakhouse Grill will feature a new dining room, private event rooms, a whiskey and wine lounge and what Kalogeros calls a “fresh new menu with traditional favorites.”

The renovations and additions will also bring the opening of Tavern Room 38, which will feature small plate and “foodie sharables.” The tavern will offer regional craft beers and distilled spirits.

The company’s redevelopment also includes what it calls an “innovative bakery and coffeehouse,” the name of which will be announced on Feb. 7.

In addition to the new bakery and tavern, the redevelopment of the steakhouse and the Peerless Centre will create five new retail spaces for lease. Kalogeros said at least two boutique home stores, a spa and a jewelry retailer have shown interest in the site.

Kalogeros said The River of Tri-Cities Church has already leased the site’s former banquet space while it works to renovate the old House of Ribs building as its permanent home.

The company also said in a news release Thursday that it has recently signed a deal with the Department of Veterans Affairs to lease 5,000 square feet of office space in the Peerless Centre “to begin immediately.”

John Kalogeros began his family’s business by selling hot dogs from a stand near Buffalo Street in 1936. His son, Jim Kalogeros, bought the Peerless when his father died in 1947. The popular restaurant soon outgrew its original Market Street location and was moved to North Johnson City in 1950.

The restaurant was last renovated in 1990. Gary Kalogeros said Thursday the current redevelopment represents an “exciting” new chapter for both Johnson City and his family’s businesses.

“It will be a major transformation, and will redefine our area,” he said of the project.

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