I love when you find a phenomenal family business story. Even better when its multi-generational. You know a family is doing something right when they manage to not only build their own little empire, but the whole family stays involved long after they don’t need the money.
It starts in 1897, when H.D. Pappas immigrated to America from Greece. He settled in Dallas and raised four sons – Jim, Pete, Tom and George. The sons moved to Houston in the 1940s to start a successful refrigeration business – a growth industry at the time to say the least.
Pappa’s is a local institution. It began with 2 restaurants in 1967 and is now 85 restaurants in eight states today. Everyone in Houston has eaten their delicious bbq, phenomenal mexican food or gone upscale with their steak and seafood. I highly recommend trying them all given the time. If you can only choose one, I’m partial to the mexican food. They have incredible tortillas made in house.
Today, 3 generations later, the grandkids are beginning to run the show.
I’m also a huge fan of any business that believes in bringing up leaders through the ranks rather than only from the outside.
Though there is a fast-track program for college graduates to become managers, almost all of their restaurant managers started as servers or cooks and all managers are promoted from within the company.
I never knew the Pappas’ background until The Chronicle ran this article. They’re a perfect example of starting from nothing and rising to the top through hard work and providing a quality product that people want. They create jobs, build local culture, and I’m glad they did. I’ll certainly remember it every time i enjoy more of their delicious food.