MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis has lost one of its most well known and beloved restaurateurs.
Nick Vergos, co-owner of The Rendezvous, passed away on Thursday, Sept. 5.
The Vergos name is synonymous with tasty ribs. But Nick Vergos was much more than a terrific cook. He was a father, a friend, and a philanthropist who gave much of himself to the city where he was born, and to the people who live here.
"I mean, he was dove hunting just a few days ago," Nick's older brother John Vergos told WMC Action News 5.
John says Nick lived life to the fullest after his cancer diagnosis in December.
"You know, my brother had a very long, difficult, very public battle with cancer," said Vergos, "and he fought it 'til the end."
Nick Vergos was the son of Charlie Vergos, the man who founded Memphis’ Rendezvous restaurant 71 years ago.
Nick followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a chef and a barbecue connoisseur. And Nick Vergos was as kind as he was skilled in the kitchen. He gave a lot of his time and energy to Southern Reigns, an equine therapy center.
"Nick was an amazing and inspirational person," the center posted to Facebook, "who was always there to share a smile and a laugh with everyone he met. He will be greatly missed and always remembered."
Vergos was deeply devoted to Make-A-Wish, granting wishes even as he struggled with his own illness. He organized a golf tournament that raised more than $3 million for the charity over the last 16 years.
"It's impossible to put into words the impact he had on thousands and thousands of families," the non-profit wrote on Twitter, "and the amazing joy that he spread."
He dined with presidents, royalty and rock stars and remained committed to the success of the family business and the city he called home. Nick Vergos leaves a lasting legacy of great food and lots of love.
"The Rendezvous family will miss him," said his brother John, "and Memphis will miss a real iconic restaurateur. He was a great restaurant guy."
Vergos’ visitation is Sunday, Sept. 8 from 6:30-9 p.m. His memorial service is Monday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m.
Nick Vergos leaves behind his wife Jenny, five children, his brother John, sister Tina Jennings and his mother, Tasia Vergos.