Before high school, Michael Bicos didn't plan to get into the family business, but the fit seemed natural.
He spent his summers working at Everest, a family restaurant with diverse food fare including breakfast burritos, fried mushrooms and carnitas tacos. After he graduated from high school, his father and restaurant owner, Dino, suggested he work at the restaurant, which has locations in La Crescenta, Upland and Santa Clarita.
Bicos, 26, became co-owner soon after.
"I got comfortable here," Michael Bicos said. "I liked how my dad set this up, and started to get an idea of an opportunity here — how to improve and make it better."
That plan is coming to fruition with a fourth Everest to be located in Glendale. With a projected opening date of Dec. 15, the new location will have around 20 employees including chefs and cashiers. So far, a handful of staff has been hired with a second round of employees coming onboard two months before the grand opening, Michael Bicos said.
Expanding Everest — a name chosen because of the restaurant's big-portioned meals — has been an idea shared by the father-son duo for several years. Both wanted a new location with substantial customer traffic, and they considered places such as Hollywood and Burbank.
Then they saw that Hamburger Central, located on 241 N. Central Ave in Glendale., had closed.
"When it came up for sale, we were pretty excited," Michael Bicos said. "It's a great area we know. We jumped on it. It was kind of a no-brainer."
Hamburger Central's sign currently remains on the restaurant's corner, alongside bright yellow banners announcing Everest's arrival.
The announcement initiated a wave of phone calls to Michael Bicos from patrons who travel to the La Crescenta location.
"We've gotten a lot of feedback, saying we'll do great and that they're happy we're coming closer," Bicos said.
A few improvements are being made to the Glendale site as work crews are remodeling bathrooms and installing a floating bar, Michael Bicos said.
The vast menu will carry over to the new location as will the restaurant's take on customer service.
This past Wednesday morning, cashiers at the La Crescenta location carried trays of food to a handful of eager diners. Michael Bicos took customers' orders and waved at regular patrons.
He said his father established Everest as a different kind of fast-food experience. Everything is fresh and made to order.
"And it takes a little bit longer to make the food, but it's worth the wait," Michael Bicos said. "Our customers seem to be appreciative of that."
Although his father started the restaurant chain, Michael Bicos expects to eventually oversee the family business — though he doesn't know when that will happen, he said with a smile, noting his father enjoys working.
And the work his father put into the restaurants is something Michael Bicos wants to continue.