Golden Nugget Pancake House in Kettering plans to reopen this summer

The Golden Nugget Pancake House in Kettering is reopening this summer after a more than 2-year hiatus. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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The Golden Nugget Pancake House in Kettering is reopening this summer after a more than 2-year hiatus. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

The Golden Nugget Pancake House is working to reopen this summer after a more than two-year hiatus.

The restaurant at 2932 S. Dixie Drive in Kettering has been closed since the day before the coronavirus-related statewide mandatory shutdown of dine-in service in March 2020. John Thomas said the family-owned restaurant is working to carry out a few minor upgrades before reopening, including a facelift out front and a change in decor.

“We want to open as soon as it’s feasible, but with today’s hiring pool, I think it’s going to take a little longer,” said Thomas. “I could see us (reopening) anytime in June or July, but it could potentially slip to August.”

The Golden Nugget was founded in 1962 by Steve and Bessie Thomas. Over the years, the Thomas family opened a few more Golden Nuggets, including locations on Salem Avenue and Keowee Street on Dayton.

The current Golden Nugget was built in 2007 after a 2005 overnight fire caused by an electrical problem heavily damaged the existing building constructed in the early 1960s.

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The third-generation family-owned business will be run in this incarnation by siblings John Thomas, Steve Thomas and Stephanie Thomas and their cousins, Michael Frangomichalos and Alexandra Frangomichalos. They’re taking over from John’s father, Greg, and his aunt and uncle, Stacey and Pantelis Frangomichalos.

“They’re all getting older and we don’t want them to work as much, so we are going to try and open it,” John Thomas said. “Technically, the ownership will stay the same, but our goal and our hope is to put forth some new twists, structure and system to the business and prepare it for potential growth.”

Thomas said his family felt, in a way, lost without the restaurant.

“We recently lost my grandmother and my family isn’t to the point where they’re ready to retire yet,” he said. “We’d like them to take ownership from a more passive standpoint, so what we’ve done is just try to work together with them and use their knowledge and our youth and try to open up and make less of the physical labor on them and more of the physical labor on the younger crew.”

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The family knew it needed to reopen the Golden Nugget, but the $1.4 million the restaurant received from the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund “definitely made it an easier decision” and made it “unthinkable to not do it,” Thomas said.

“The Golden Nugget, among other businesses, has suffered so many great losses financially and otherwise that it’s basically to try and get them back to even,” he said. “You went from operating a successful business to closing your doors and not really having the opportunity to open back up for so long that without it, I don’t know that it would be possible to reopen and my family would be in dire straits.”

The Golden Nugget plans to hire between 50 and 60 full- and part-time employees before it reopens, Thomas said. Those wishing to apply before the planned summer re-launch may do to via websites for Thomas Restaurant Group eateries Doubleday’s Grill & Tavern and The Famous Restaurant.

Thomas said he feels “emotional” about restarting the restaurant that his grandparents launched 60 years ago.

“It’s a big honor to continue my family’s legacy,” he said. “It’s the most important baton I’ve ever been handed.”

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