One less bowl of hummus. One less wrap to try. Grip Mediterranean Grill, the fast-casual concept from the owners of Ali Baba, shut down in Preston Center, the same day as the lamented closure of its big sibling in Lakewood.
"Everyone was so distracted by Ali Baba closing, but now with people going back to work in the new year, they're saying they miss their favorite lunch place," says spokesperson Natalie Gamez Meyer.
Grip, which opened in Preston Center in 2012, was a clever Ali Baba spin-off by owners Adam and Jalal Chanaa. It served some Ali Baba classics, like hummus, as well as wrap sandwiches. Two more branches followed in 2013 in Arlington and Denton, but in difficult locations. Denton closed in December 2013; Arlington closed in January 2014.
Preston Center wasn't a particularly great location either.
"The Preston Center location did great at lunch," Meyer says. "Lunch was absolutely wonderful. We had people who came in almost every day. It stood out in Preston Center because it wasn't pizza. It wasn't burgers. It was something different.
"But dinner is just a really tough crowd over there. Anybody who has a restaurant there will tell you."
They toyed with the idea of offering beer and wine, but instead opted to stop being open for dinner altogether.
"Since 75 percent of our business was at lunch, we made a decision to be open for lunch only, back around September," Meyer says. "We survived on lunch — but didn't quite survive enough."
For now, for your Ali Baba needs, Richardson is the place to go. "Since Lakewood closed, we've definitely seeing more business at Richardson," Meyer says.