DENVER – In 2004, Kiki Kaloudis’s husband was laid off from his information technology position. He figured that since he couldn’t find a job, he would make one himself.
So he recruited his brother-in-law and Everest Grill was born.
“Now we all run it,” Kaloudis said. “My sister, her husband, my husband and me. It was a good decision. It’s been 10 years, and we’re still going strong.”
When the restaurant opened in 2004, the area was still mostly trees. The mall was in place but there were few businesses in place.
“Denver really needed a nice, affordable, fast place to eat,” Kaloudis said. “And we filled that need.”
However, it took them awhile to build up their bustling business and establish their reputation as a great place to get Greek food and American favorites.
“Now 90 percent of our customers we’ve had for years and years,” Kaloudis said. “They have become like family to us.”
The menu is considered Greek fast food. There are gyros, souvlaki, Greek salads and pita sandwiches. But there are also dinner and Southern favorites such as patty melts, hamburger steaks, reubens and club sandwiches.
Every day, there is a daily special, such as beef stew over rice or pork chops grilled to order.
“We make and cook just about everything from scratch back there,” Kaloudis said. “We cook to order every single day, so everything is fresh.”
They also try to buy as much local produce as possible to support the community and ensure a good meal. There are also daily specials, such as country-style steak, beer stew over rice and pork chops grilled to order. These specials are quite large, enough to sate the biggest appetite.
The Everest Grill strives to be a great place to bring the entire family. There is a kid’s menu and every Wednesday children eat free.
“We all have children,” Kaloudis said. “So it’s very important that families and children feel welcome here.”
The kid’s menu features favorites, such as hamburger, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, shrimp, fish and a hot dog. Everest Grill also serves breakfast until 11 a.m. every day except Sunday, when the restaurant is closed.
There are plenty of value-priced egg plates, waffles and omelets on the menu. The breakfast has attracted a steady stream of regulars who love to have their meal, coffee and conversation.
“We have so many of the same people come to eat and chat,” Kaloudis said. “And our pricing is so good that people can afford to eat here every day.”
The restaurant is big on supporting the community, often working with East Lincoln sports teams by donating food. They also get great waitstaff from the school going off recommendations of coaches and teachers. They also prepare lunch one time per week for Lincoln Charter School.
“We will almost always sponsor anything to do with kids,” Kaloudis said. Plus they work with Hill’s Chapel United Methodist Church four times each month, giving a portion of the profits to the organization.
Everest Grill is the quintessential hometown restaurant. Food and family are of utmost importance.
Kaloudis explained that one of the joys of owning their own place is that they can make the rules about the food. So if a special is really popular, it will most probably find a place on the menu. Plus they can continue to dish up their healthy servings of quality food.
“We can serve large portions because we don’t have to measure everything out,” Kaloudis said. “We use a lot of to-go boxes here!”
Want to go? Everest Grill, 122 N.C. 16 S., Denver, 704-822-0404.