Kotis, whose recent ventures include Burger Warfare and The Marshall Free House, will be honored Monday during the annual Taste of North Carolina event at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham.
According to the association, the Restaurateur of the Year award "honors a restaurant owner or company that is viewed as highly successful in the eyes of his or her fellow operators, employees and the community."
For Kotis, the award follows his recognition more than a decade ago by the association as hospitality supplier of the year.
"It's kind of funny to be on this side of it," Kotis said.
Kotis said the award is based in part on what he's been able to do to turn around the Darryl's Wood Fired Grill, a revival that's been five years in the making.
The association notes that Kotis has spent over 25 years developing and investing in restaurants and commercial properties. Since 1957, the Kotis family has developed over 240 restaurants in the Carolinas.
Kotis said his first job, when he was 13 years old, was washing dishes in one of his family's restaurant — a common role for those raised in a family in the restaurant business, he said.
Kotis continues to develop plans for new eateries in Greensboro, including a new pizza concept restaurant to be housed within an expanding Pig Pounder Brewery, as well as a Caribbean concept that will be in the former Ham's Lakeside on East Cone Boulevard he recently purchased.
Also being honored by the group Monday night is the late Ken Conrad of the Libby Hill restaurant chain.
Conrad, who had been battling cancer, died in December at age 72, and held high-level leadership roles with the National Restaurant Association as well as the National Fisheries Institute.
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