Laziza Mediterranean Grill celebrates first anniversary
Laziza Mediterranean Grill looks very much the same on the outside as it did when it opened a little more than a year ago. Walk inside and you still may only notice subtle differences: the small market of Mediterranean products up front and the hookah products available for purchase toward the back, maybe.
Owner Nader Khatib, however, is going into his second year of business having already made some significant tweaks to his already winning business model. And more changes, he said, are on the way.
A close look at the menu reveals minor adjustments: new items have appeared, such as spicy chicken shawarma (their already delicious shawarma tossed in a chili sauce) and Laziza feta fries with garlic chili sauce. And lamb, a staple of the Lebanese style of Palestinian food that Khatib hopes to re-create in a traditional manner, is finally on the menu.
“We didn’t start off with the lamb because to do it right, it is very labor intensive,” Khatib explained. “So we waited until we were comfortable with our core menu before we added it.”
That’s welcome news to the many customers who he said requested it. Also welcome to families are the platters now available for two or four people that include salads, hummus, a variety of kebabs and falafels and drinks.
“With the family platters, customers are getting more food and more variety,” he said. “It’s a full meal and they can just pay one price for everything.”
One of Khatib’s most ambitious plans for Laziza, however, isn’t on the menu. Whereas once he thought he might add a second location, he now has plans to do something a little more… mobile.
“We’re currently exploring starting a food truck,” he said. “We’re researching getting one and, hopefully, taking it different places like downtown and Aiken. It would have a smaller menu, but the gyros and chicken shawarma would definitely be keepers.”
So why a food truck instead of second location?
“A food truck has low overhead, low startup costs and, if it doesn’t work, we can just park it,” he explained. “And it allows us to test out new markets. If we get a good response in Aiken, for instance, or North Augusta, we might consider opening another location in one of those places. It’s kind of like a rolling experiment.”
And while his rolling experiment is still in the primary stages, Khatib said that he and his staff are currently focusing on their new hookah items, including pipes, tobacco and other accessories (don’t worry, though; no smoking is allowed in the restaurant) and their business lunch catering.
“We’re doing a promotional thing right now where, for $8 a person, you get salad, hummus, grilled, boneless chicken, rice and pita bread,” he explained. “And people can come in and pick it up or we’ll deliver it.”
All customers can take advantage of another of Laziza Grill’s features: online ordering.
With so many changes made and in the works, one might suspect that the restaurant business is easier than those in the food service industry make it out to be. Khatib, however, says it isn’t so.
“It’s not easy,” he admitted, “but as long as you have a plan and good people, it can be done. The people are by far the most important thing because, if I didn’t have a good staff, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”
Laziza Mediterranean Grill
4272 Washington Road, Evans
11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday
706-504-4303 | lazizagrill.comYou Might Also Like:
Beyond Fast Casual
Posted in Cuisine Scene