Lambert plans to honor the rich tradition of the Little Dutch

The new and former owners of Little Dutch stand in front of photos of the original owners on Thursday in Morristown. From left to right, Jamie Lambert and his wife Kim, new owners of the restaurant, and Nina and George Angelos, who sold the restaurant to Lambert on Oct. 1.

Oct. 1 marked not only the beginning of a new month, but a new chapter for the Little Dutch Restaurant, as the beloved eatery underwent a transition in ownership.

George and Nina Angelos, stewards of The Little Dutch since 1973, bestowed their responsibilities on new owner, Jamie Lambert, early last week.

Lambert, an East Tennessee native and Morristown resident for more than 30 years, is eager to honor the rich history and carry on the traditions of the local landmark celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

“I’m deeply humbled for the opportunity to be a part of such a historic legacy that has spanned generations,” Lambert said. “Nowadays, it’s unheard of for a business to have only three owners in the span of 80 years. I thank George and Nina for entrusting me with this special piece of local history.”

Initially, Angelos hoped the restaurant would remain within his family, since the Little Dutch has changed hands only twice since its inception in 1939, once he and Nina retired. However, as his five daughters and their families grew and moved across the southeast, George knew he would have to look elsewhere for his successor.

The Angelos family was pleased to find his replacement in Lambert – who heard about the opportunity from a mutual friend – as a perfect fit with experience in family-owned businesses and was a visitor over the years at the Little Dutch.

“We are very excited to hand over the business to Jamie, as we know he will continue the traditions that started here over 80 years ago,” Angelos said. “Jamie comes to the business with prior restaurant experience and an energetic enthusiasm to carry on the tradition of ‘good food and good service at a reasonable price.’”

Lambert previously owned Pizza Inn of Morristown for more than a decade, working in the establishment in a 30-year career in restaurant industry. While Lambert brings a new face and fresh ideas to the Little Dutch, he assures guests that the meals, staff and ambience will remain the same.

“As a former business owner, I understand consistency is key,” Lambert said. “Patrons expect and enjoy great food and great service from familiar faces at the Little Dutch, and I plan to continue that same level of award-winning cuisine and service.”

From the beginning, the Little Dutch has been named one of the best places to eat in Morristown by locals and visitors alike, and Lambert - with his family by his side - hopes to maintain that reputation and create new memories for years to come.

“The restaurant speaks for itself,” Lambert said. “The fact that it’s stood the test of time is a testament not only to George and Nina but to the community, and I look forward to growing together with our small town in this new capacity.”