Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zaya Mediterranean Closing in Inman Park, Opening at Tech

Zaya Mediterranean Restaurant in Atlanta's Inman Park neighborhood will close this Sunday June 20th. Having been open for about 2 years, the restaurant had been for sale and has now found a buyer. Neighboring eateries Fritti and Sotto Sotto along with the newer Pure Taqueria have performed well, but appeal to a broader audience. Having visited Israel myself, I could appreciate the authenticity of the food Zaya offered and the appeal of such a restaurant. Unfortunately their location did not offer the traffic needed to support the restaurant. I spoke with Zaya owner Tarek Tay about his foray into quick serve restaurants (QSRs) and he sees this as the growth area for restaurants. He is very sad to close Zaya's Inman Park location but simply could not justify continuing operations with such little neighborhood support. His "fast casual" Zaya at Dooley's Den on Emory University's campus has exceeded his expectations, prompting him to plan an additional location at Georgia Tech.

The Georgia Tech location will be in the second level food court of the Student Center and should be open by the start of fall semester classes. Tay has found college students appreciative of a Mediterranean dining option, healthier and fresher than normal college fare like pizzas and burgers. In these campus locations, he has been able to cut prices by about a third, with no decrease in quality. The Emory and Georgia Tech locations join a sister location at Tulane in New Orleans in Tay's ongoing partnership with food service and facilities provider Sodexo. ToNeTo Atlanta

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Darik Kristofer said...

Very sad to see Zaya closing in Inman. I was always a big fan and enthusiastic patron. Tarek is a smart businessman that knows the service industry well. Regarding the authenticity of the food, I agree with Atlantan99; exceptional Mediterranean cuisine. Looking forward to visiting the Emory and Tech locations.

Darin said...

Interesting that he notes the lack of foot traffic. I thought that this location, near so many condos and apartments, would offer that to the string of restos here.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Darin,

Tarek himself did not make note of the lack of foot traffic, I did. Tarek did say he received little support or patronage from the neighborhood despite being involved in the community as much as he was.

Sorry about the confusion and thanks for the comment.

bat said...

Thank god this place is closing. The food was absolutely atrocious. I took my Greek girlfriend there about a month ago, thinking it would be a treat for her. We went in there and it was dead, yet the kitchen was out of many things on the menu. I'm a lamb lover and I could hardly choke down the kabobs. Her babaganoush tasted like it was scooped out of the dumpster. I don't even want to get started on the leather-like beef shwarma. Any respectable chef would hide his face in shame at the food coming out of this dump. Good riddance.