Partner and Director of Operations and Restaurant Development for T.A.G. Restaurant Group Manolis Alpogianis brings more than 18 years of diversified restaurant experience as well as a true passion for people and great food to the management mix. Prior to owning and operating restaurants, Manolis' food-service beginnings go back to when his father purchased the Kappy's in Morton Grove in 1985, where he worked for three years in multiple positions. In 1988, Manolis enrolled at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and joined Lettuce Entertain You, starting at Bones in Lincolnwood. At Bones, he progressed through the restaurant ranks from host, to assistant banquet manager, to banquet manager and finally, trainer. Subsequently, Manolis moved onto another Lettuce Entertain You concept in 1991 to open Maggiano's and Corner Bakery Downtown Chicago. Manolis worked as a bartender at Maggiano's for two years while completing his degree at UIC in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Upon graduation, he landed a management job at California Pizza Kitchen in 1993. Upon graduating with honors from UIC in 1993, Manolis and his brother George reunited for a summer road-trip across America, which ultimately resulted in the birth of a new restaurant concept, America's Dog. Foodies at heart, the two had an early appreciation for every food form, no matter how simple and fast or complex and gourmet. Realizing America's insatiable appetite for hot dogs represented by stands in every town, the brothers also noted through travels that each city's dog diners had strong opinions regarding appropriate hot dog condiments. Hence, the concept for America's Dog was born, where Chicagoans can order a hot dog made and topped with all the fixings one would find in that city. In 1995, Manolis took the big "leap" when he, his brother & father opened Carnelli's Deli, the first quick-service food tenant to move into Chicago's beloved tourist attraction Navy Pier. America's Dog at Navy Pier was started in 1996. Spearheaded by Manolis, the T.A.G. team developed another new concept, Buckingham Cafe & Grill, opening the quaint al fresco eatery amongst the oaks of Grant Park at historic Buckingham Fountain in 1997. Manolis launched Nino Panino Sandwich Shop at Union Station in 2000. In 2001, America's Dog joined Buckingham Cafe & Grill along Chicago's lakefront at Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. When he isn't overseeing the T.A.G. restaurants, Manolis enjoys dining out with restaurant mentor Sharon Barson, rehabbing homes, traveling, camping, biking and hiking.
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