Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Person of Interest



Hometown: Zoar, Ohio

Occupation: Owner of The Veranda restaurant for 30 years in Fort Myers.

The restaurant business: Peden has owned, operated and sold 25 to 30 restaurants of all types over the last 30 years.

Stick to your ribs: Peden also started the Rib City franchise with other partners. His son, Craig, now oversees those operations, which include 13 corporate-owned restaurants and 11 franchises.
How they differ: "Veranda we do with a passion, Rib City we do with more of a business model."
It’s all history: The buildings that house Veranda were originally two homes built in 1902. Peden purchased the buildings in 1978 (they were a restaurant at the time) and transformed them into Veranda.

In the beginning: "We had more of a basic menu—steaks and potatoes. Now it’s much more sophisticated."

Sample menu items: Herb-crusted, honey-grilled salmon fillet and veal piccata, but you can still find Southern grit cakes on the menu.

Setting the mood: "We have waiters in tuxedos at nighttime, and we maintain a classic Southern environment."

How people eat today: "There is a trend toward healthier and smaller portions. People are getting away from the porterhouse mentality."

Best of the best: "We’ve won so many awards that if I stacked them up it would literally be 50 feet tall."

Getting it right: "If you make a mistake, diners may forgive you once, but twice, they’re on to the next spot."

Dining out: "I go to Rib City a lot, and I like Chops. The owner used to work for me."

Taking risks: "The failures become an education."

Lesson learned: "The people you work with are your biggest asset. You can’t do it by yourself."

What’s next: "We could see 60 to 100 Rib City stores in the next five years—and that’s a conservative number."

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You Might Like

Culture Watch: Here's Hoping

The cultural advances we’re wishing for in the coming year

Bright Lights, Living Large

Follow the action at Mercato after dark, where family activities give way to more adult pursuits.

Fashion: Cool For Fall

Show your dark side this autumn in deep hues, sumptuous fabrics and eye-catching embellishments.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags