Established franchisee Yogit "Yogi" Patel is branching out with his own concept in creating Bazaria. The 27-year-old Patel already owns a Tin Drum AsiaCafe on Alps Road in Athens as well as a couple of Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joints with another opening soon in Loganville. (Patel previously owned Tin Drum locations at Colony Square, Georgia State and Emory Village, but has since sold them back to the franchisor: maybe he saw the writing on the wall.)
Bazaria is opening at the corner of 8th & Peachtree Streets in suite "C" and will feature plenty of patio seating. The 2000 square foot endcap space was most recently home to Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, and before that, Bakeshop, and before that, Gold Star Bakery & Cafe. Lime Fresh was open for about a year before closing last May. Lime Fresh, owned by Ruby Tuesday, spent about a quarter of a million dollars to update and upgrade the restaurant space. Patel is now able to walk into a virtually "turnkey," fully built out restaurant, thus tremendously reducing his upfront costs.
The name Bazaria comes from the word Bazaar, a type of market largely associated with the middle east.
Chef Nasser Amer, a partner of Bazaria, is relocating from Chicago to join Patel in opening Bazaria. Chef Amer was previously executive chef and co-owner of Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen, a similar but full service restaurant with locations in Lincoln Park and Albany Park in Chicago.
Bazaria is described as "a new premium build-your-own Eastern Mediterranean restaurant featuring made-to-order traditional Eastern Mediterranean menu items like shawarma meat, falafel, pita and laffa bread, and its famous traditional and zesty hummus. All menu items are house-made (including the breads) with the freshest ingredients with many gluten-free and vegan options available."
It will be interesting to see how Bazaria fares with newcomer Cafe Mezo open a short distance away offering similar fare, but with male belly dancing. Further south on Peachtree, Florida import Pita's Republic is somehow still open, and also offers fast casual, albeit subpar, Mediterranean fare. In addition, established favorite Al's Cafe Agora has a midtown location a few blocks away at Peachtree Place close to the midtown MARTA station.
Personally, I love Al's Cafe Agora and find their food among the freshest and most flavorful Mediterranean fare in Atlanta. I'm a Mediterranean food snob and have tried plenty of concepts and restaurants and very much like the idea that Bazaria will make their breads in-house. If they make their falafels to order, rather than have them pre-made and waiting to be thrown in a wrap or platter, I will definitely give 'em a shot.
Sources tell me that Bazaria expects to open in "late summer/early fall." If successful, they plan to expand the concept in metro Atlanta and beyond.