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Tommy Klemis is the former owner of Junior's Grill - a restaurant that once stood where Highland Bakery does today. He was an incredible member of the Georgia Tech community and his contributions will always be remembered. Junior’s Grill closed in 2011, but for those who were fortunate enough to eat there, the memories are as fond as ever.Tommy was truly a giant among men at Georgia Tech, and it is in his honor that Klemis Kitchen will serve the Tech community.
I used to eat at Junior's - often. At closing time, on occasion, a student would come by looking for a meal. Tommy would unlock the door, bring the student in, have him or her sit in a booth, and then go search the kitchen for what he could provide for the student. For Tommy, it was not about cost of goods sold, return on investment percentage, or maximizing time outside the business. This is why the students loved Tommy. He cared for them and their needs, with no regard for the cost to himself. A business consultant would probably have advised Tommy: "You can't stay late and give food away any time someone comes by after hours!" This was Georgia Tech, and as a Tech alumnus, Tommy knew: He could do that.
I think one of the biggest things for me was being there for its last day. I got in line at about 7:30 AM and waited until about 10 AM to get my last omelet. To stand in line with some of my best friends and to see something so special to Georgia Tech ending was magical for me... but the most amazing part was that those folks came to eat tenders, yes, but while Tommy would never admit it, they came to say good bye to their friend that always fed them and was one of the nicest men you'll ever meet.
heard about the closing, bought a ticket to Atlanta, and was there the next day to say goodbye. While at Tech in the 70's, he went through financial hardship. He was given free meals and some financial support for 3 weeks from Junior’s. He said that Tommy's kindness allowed him to stay at Tech. To this day, he remembers that time in his life and the huge impact that Tommy had.
“I can’t think of a better legacy to leave for our future Tech students than one that actively provides funds to feed those in need. It honors all the employees of Junior’s, many of whom were students."
Continuing the legacy of Tommy Klemis, Klemis Kitchen will seek to fill the gaps in students' dietary needs. The operations of the kitchen will uphold Georgia Tech's motto of Progress and Service by providing qualified students with the option to obtain their next meal from the Kitchen. Adhering to policies in accordance with the Institute, Klemis Kitchen will function without regard and with consideration for race, religion, gender, and orientation.
Dietary needs are critical to growth and learning and are a right to all members of the GT community. Lack of access to food should not hinder anyone's academic enrichment or achievement. Klemis Kitchen will work to alleviate lessen the gap between members of the GT community that exists due to extenuating circumstances.