Chrysanthos and Peter Georgiou grew up in the food business.
Their father, George, started The Chef’s Market on South Street in 1984 with partner Ed Barranco. As the small gourmet shop grew, it evolved into a thriving catering business. So much so, when the market closed in 2009, they moved to a facility in Grays Ferry to focus solely on catering as The Chef’s Table.
Chrys, 41, wanted to take his career in a different direction, but the family business eventually called him back. In the early 00s, he became the Catering Manager. Brother Peter, 39, is the Operations Manager.
The business had been explosive and expanding over the years, counting many corporations, universities, law firms, and other big companies as their clients. The future looked extremely bright.
Then came COVID. Like other catering companies, cancellations rolled in one right after another, and business pretty much halted to a standstill.
“The pandemic was our kryptonite! Our revenue crashed. Pretty much zero,” Georgiou told Philly Grub.
Chrys realized early on that The Chef’s Table Catering needed to pivot quickly to survive.
“We knew this wasn’t going away any time soon. We needed to figure out how to move forward,” Georgiou said.
With a 17,000 square foot facility in Grays Ferry and dozens of employees, they had to develop a plan on the fly to keep the company going during challenging times. Since the corporate business dried up, they realized they had to start selling retail or directly to consumers. They decided they would have to start offering delivery and take-out for that growing customer base.
It wouldn’t be easy to start a new food business segment in a “food desert,” as Georgiou called Grays Ferry. But as a self-described dreamer, he felt that nothing ventured is nothing gained, and failure was not an option. He had to come up with something!
“We noticed the plumbers, carpenters, and trades were all still working,” Georgiou recalled during the early days of the pandemic. “We asked ourselves, ‘What kind of cuisine can we make to appeal to these guys, who want to pick up quick meals with minimal contact?'”
Long Shot BBQ
Chrys remarked how Peter had started doing some BBQ’ing on his own and was getting good at it. That is when they cooked up the idea for Longshot BBQ. Peter set up the smoker outside in the parking lot and created the menu while Chrys got to work setting up a website, social media profiles, getting them set up on Grubhub, and marketing it on local Facebook groups. It debuted in September of 2020.
“We had a lot of support early on, especially when we starting flyering neighborhoods like Naval Square,” Georgiou said.
The menu features low and slow-cooked brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and St. Louis ribs with sides such as homemade chips, macaroni and cheese, German potato salad, and more. Rave reviews started coming in and word of mouth helped their early success.
Pretty quickly, they realized the challenges which made just doing BBQ not wholly sustainable. A big problem was there were lots of leftovers from inconsistent and infrequent orders resulting in food waste. Not to mention, while BBQ has a passionate following, it’s not something people eat every day.
Day Break Eggs
They began to think of other concepts to help cut down on food waste while bringing in more customers immediately.
Seeing traffic lines at the nearby Dunkin Donuts, the lightbulb turned on to start offering breakfast to draw in some of those customers.
So, in November 2020, Day Break Eggs was launched, offering “ridiculously good” breakfast sandwiches using some of Longshot’s BBQ meats.
As with Longshot, Georgiou immediately began an intense ground roots marketing campaign. “In January, we started offering coupons on Grubhub, and business picked up quite a bit. We also started advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Now we’re on all of the 3rd party sites.”
When they started, they averaged about 20 orders per day. Now, they’re up to over 150 orders per day and growing.
Customers are digging the high-quality aspect of the menu. “We’re not your average bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast spot,” Georgiou boasted. “We use the finest, freshest ingredients, and nothing is frozen.”
Pleased with the reasonably quick success of the delivery and take-out business of Longshot BBQ and Day Break Eggs, Chrys kept wondering what would be next. It didn’t take him long to think of another fun, high consumption concept that would appeal to a large audience.
Most recently he launched Texitos – a Tex-Mex taco and burrito concept using proteins from Longshot. As with the others, Chrys believes that their style of Mexican street food with a Texas twist will be well-received. He’s built a website, social media profiles and has Texitos on the 3rd party delivery sites.
He’s not stopping there. Another new concept is in development which he said will fill a need in that area and is often requested. He wants the focus to be on healthy food with salads and vegan options.
Expanding beyond Grays Ferry is also on the table. He’s seriously considering opening satellite locations in other neighborhoods like Northern Liberties or Fishtown since their current delivery radius is limited to within 3 miles of Gray’s Ferry.
Either way, he’s always dreaming of new ways to keep the company in business and keep people employed. Growth is constantly on his mind, and he’s recently assembled a small team to help with marketing, advertising, and promotions.
“While catering has picked up a bit more this year, it is still very unpredictable. Delivery is here to stay,” Georgiou said of the company’s future. “We’ll keep doing it as long as there are customers.”
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Independent Journalist. Food marketing/PR expert.