Monday, August 31, 2015

Taziki's Taking on Toco Hills

Taziki's is coming to Toco Hills

Birmingham, Alabama-based Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe plans to open a new location at Toco Hills Promenade. The Mediterranean eatery will open in the former Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint at the Publix-anchored center on North Druid Hills Road.  Uncle Maddio's at Toco Hills was the now chain's first location when it opened in 2009.  As I reported in April, the restaurant closed due to a reported "30% rent increase."    

Ironically, Taziki's will mark the return of "Mediterranean fare" to the 3,551 square foot space at Toco Hills.  Prior to Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint, Mama Fu's Asian House, and some other random Asian eatery, the space was for many years home to Gyro Wrap.  Gyro Wrap, today known as Great Wraps, is Atlanta-based and known for their "Mediterranean inspired menu."  This location was a favorite of my family's in the 90s.  

Taziki's entered metro Atlanta in 2012 with a location in Sandy Springs at the  "Glenridge Springs" development, near the Haverty's building. Taziki's added a location on Windward Parkway in Alpharetta in late 2013. Last spring, the chain opened in Athens in the Bottleworks on Prince Avenue.  

This past July, Taziki's opened in Suwanee on Old Peachtree Road.  Here, Taziki's joined Nashville, Tennessee-based I Love Juice Bar in a newly built center just off I-85 and adjacent to an existing Home Depot.  (I Love Juice Bar recently opened in Toco Hills Promenade)

As I previously announced, Taziki's upcoming Decatur location will open alongside a new outpost of Highland Bakery at 315 West Ponce de Leon Avenue. While a drive-thru I Love Juice Bar was also proposed for the property, the concept was rejected by the city of Decatur and ultimately abandoned.  

Taziki's also plans to open in the Fashion Cafe at Lenox Square.  In the Buckhead mall, the Mediterranean eatery will replace the recently shuttered Subway restaurant.  In Lenox, Taziki's joins fellow fast casual operators Chipotle Mexican Grill and Freshii. Taziki's will hope to fill the void left by longtime Mediterranean eatery Hovan Gourmet which closed in the Fashion Cafe in late 2013.  

In case you've never been, Taziki's has similarities to Zoës Kitchen, and with good reason. 

Marcus & Zoe Cassimus started  Zoës Kitchen in 1995, and in 1998, Keith & Amy Richards opened Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe.  According to a well placed source within Zoës Kitchen, Keith Richards first approached Zoës Kitchen about opening a franchise, but after being trained,  he departed and subsequently opened Taziki's.  

Both Zoës and Taziki's are fast casual restaurants featuring Mediterranean fare, and both started in Birmingham, Alabama.  

Today, Zoës is headquartered in Plano, Texas, has about 150 locations in sixteen states, and as of last year, is a publicly traded company. Taziki's remains based in Birmingham and has 47 open or opening locations in 14 states.

A Taziki's representative told me plans are to have the Lenox Square location open in time for Black Friday shoppers. The Toco Hills and Decatur locations are expected to open in mid January.  

Have you been to both Zoës Kitchen and Taziki's?  If so, which do you prefer?  Do you think Taziki's will do well in Lenox Square?  What is your favorite Mediterranean dish?  

Please share your thoughts below.  

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, heck no - you did NOT just call Tokko Cafe "some other random Asian eatery"!!! Very uncool, man.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Birmingham and love this place. Glad new location will be close to work. Way better than Zoes

Anonymous said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Middle Eastern and Med cuisine! Cannot WAIT for this place to open at Toco Hills! Med Grill down the road on Clairmont & N. Decatur is okay, but looking for something just a little better. I wish Sababa Cafe on N. Shallowford would open a restaurant closer to the Decatur area. They are THE best, but don't get to it too often because of the distance. Glad Maddio's is gone. They're food was disgusting.