Greek food fans should be pleased with the imminent arrival of Taziki's Cafe, a new restaurant chain coming to the Dallas area. The first location opens in Southlake in June.
Taziki's was founded in Alabama by Amy and Keith Richards, who were inspired to open a restaurant after a visit to Greece. The couple has since opened more than two dozen branches across the Southeast. Taziki's follows the fast-casual format, wherein you place your order at a counter and get it delivered by a server, popularized by Pei Wei.
Taziki's menu features half a dozen varieties of gyro sandwiches; entrées with grilled meats and rice; and salads, grape leaves and hummus. The latter is available in regular and gluten-free varieties, with raw vegetables standing in for pita chips.
Overseeing the Dallas-area expansion is JW Mulkin, a young entrepreneur from Birmingham, Alabama who's worked at fast-casual restaurants such as Zoe's Kitchen.
Although Taziki's does do Greek food, Mulkin cautions against typecasting it as a Greek place.
"The good thing about Taziki's is that we don't paint ourselves into a corner as Greek or Middle Eastern," he says. "We are Mediterranean, but we also have a beef tenderloin sandwich and a pasta dish with diced tomatoes, feta cheese, basil and balsamic vinaigrette. We take Mediterranean and go from there."
The best-seller is the signature "Friday's pasta," which is a pasta special that runs Friday through Sunday, says Mulkin.
Mulkin and his father, who is a partner, looked around the Dallas area and came close to launching in Plano but found a better location and more receptive city in Southlake. They're taking over what used to be the Asian restaurant Gingerine and giving it a facelift, including opening the kitchen.
"The last restaurant didn't do well in the space, but it has a lot going for it," he says. "It's right on the corner, so it has great visibility, a great patio and great parking."