An old Durham favorite is set to re-open around the end of the year as two well-known brothers plan the comeback of JP’s Grill in the wake of Tacomano’s closure.
Durham natives John and Justin Petrovitsis come from a line of Durham restaurant royalty; their parents started Durham House of Pizza (DHOP) and later JP’s Eatery, a restaurant serving what DHOP was missing: subs and sandwiches. The name JP’s comes from their kid’s initials – James, John, Justin, and Jordan Petrovitsis.
“In 1976, my dad came to town and [DHOP] started where Rite Aid was, and it moved up to where the Makery is, and in the early 90’s moved to where we are now,” Justin said about their long-time roots on Main Street.
Justin graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2015 from the Thompson School of Applied Science, studying restaurant management, followed by a four-year program in communication. John studied business at Castleton College in Vermont and graduated in 2012.
When next-door neighbor Tacomano moved out of 38 Main Street at the end of August, the brothers jumped at the opportunity to re-open what their parents had started.
“My parents opened it in the 90’s and decided that having four kids and two businesses and a lot of apartments was a lot to handle,” Justin said. “So, they chose one of the other and decided to sell that [JP’s Eatery] …we saw an opportunity, we’re pretty young, and we thought, ‘let’s bring back what we originally had.’”
He noted that one of the things his parents liked the most about running the Eatery was “seeing people’s reactions to the good stuff,” referring to the fresh quality food that they served and plan to continue serving.
“We are going to be doing sandwiches and subs and fresh food that we can come up with,” Justin said even though the full menu is still in the works.
JP’s Grill isn’t planning on staying open as late as DHOP, a popular spot to go on weekend nights at times sometimes as late as 2:00 a.m. Rather, they are looking to do more “regular” hours with the Grill.
The brothers hope to open the spot around “Decemberish,” saying that “it is all pretty much up in the air,” because of it being a busy time for DHOP with Homecoming and classes staring back up again. Nevertheless, they say many locals are excited for their return.
“We have a lot of locals that are excited to see the original JP’s coming back, so we are excited to make the local community excited about it and introduce the new college students to it,” they said.