Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

Peck's founder scratches retirement, returns to grilled chicken

APOLLO BEACH — George Kontakos couldn't stay away from the draw of the flame. He tried to enjoy retirement for 2½ years, even vacationing in his native Greece.

But the man who founded Peck's Flame Broiled Chicken in Brandon back in 1990 and subsequently sold the name has opened another location in the old Dairy Queen at 6002 U.S. 41 in Apollo Beach.

"I wanted to do something to kill the time," said Kontakos, 72. "We are not here to make millions."

While many family members, including sons James, Alex, Pete and John all had a hand in helping grow the business over the years, James has taken the baton that his father passed to him and will be running this new restaurant.

James also credits his mom, Alexandra. She is retired now but used to run the business side using her banking skills she learned while working alongside Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon.

James' nephew, Aristotles also helps out during summers.

"I'm a restaurant brat — like a military brat," said James, 43. "They are huge shoes to try to fill, but I've had the best teacher along the way. My father is still my idol."

George Kontakos credits YaYa's Chicken for introducing him to the flame broiled style of cooking, but Peck's still marinates all its chicken for at least 24 hours in a secret recipe, giving it the signature flavor customers have come to know.

The store will continue to undergo renovations, while dine-in customers can expect to enjoy an ambiance that includes the likes of Ray Charles and Frankie Valli piping through Pandora while Godfather and Beatles art adorn the walls.

In addition to chicken, the Kontakos family offers a nod to its heritage with menu items such as gyros and Greek salads along with ribs. Daily specials range from $5.50 (thigh, leg and side) to $10.35 for a gyro platter, fries, Greek salad and pita. Peck's also caters and makes family meals of between eight and 20 pieces of chicken.

Check out the full menu at getpecked.com, a website that Alex designed.

Indian cuisine fills spot on Brandon Blvd.

BRANDON — Bawarchi, Biryani Point, an Indian cuisine restaurant, has opened in one of the Brandon locations that formerly housed a Peck's Flame Broiled Chicken. After Peck's founder George Kontakos retired, he sold the name and the eatery re-opened in Brandon under different ownership in 2014 in the same plaza as Outback at 2020 W Brandon Blvd., No. 140.

Now Bawarchi, Biryani Point, which dubs itself as the biggest Indian restaurant chain in the nation with more than 40 locations, is bringing its authentic entrees to Brandon on the heels of its Tampa opening. Menu items include the $9 Dal Tadka, which is yellow lentil sauteed with onions, tomatoes and spices, and Gongura Mutton Curry for $13.

Visit bawarchibiryanipoint.com for the full menu.

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