By JOHN T. WARD
For about five years, Red Bank restaurateur George Lyristis has been developing an idea for a casual fast-food restaurant based on his ethnic heritage, he tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.
Well, the time has come to make the concept real, he says. With the sale of their Zoe Bistro in Little Silver, effective Wednesday, Lyristis and his brothers Charlie and Taso are planning to open a new place called Greek Eats in Shrewsbury in coming months.
As of April 1, the Lyristis brothers will hand off ownership of the six-year-old Zoe to chef Laercio Chamon Jr., known to truck food fans as the brains behind the Rollin’ Bistro. After a one-day closure, “Chef Junior” will reopen Zoe, located in the Markham Plaza strip mall, on April 2, we’re told.
“We had a buyer for Zoe, and so we’re pulling the trigger” on the Greek Eats concept, Lyristis tells Churn.
Greek Eats will offer Mediterranean rotisserie meats, salads and vegetables, with an emphasis on organic and healthy choices, says Lyristis.
With 30 to 40 seats and no wait service, it’s “in and out the door in 30 to 40 minutes” for those who eat onsite, matching the profile of diners who are driving growth in the fast-casual food category, he says.
The Lyristic brothers, who also own the Red Bank restaurants Bistro, on Broad Street, and Teak, on Monmouth Street, plan to roll out four or five more Greek Eats in quick succession, elsewhere in Monmouth County, with the goal of creating a franchise operation, says George. No locations have been chosen, he said, but Red Bank isn’t under consideration because, in his view, the town has too many restaurants and not enough parking.
Greek Eats will join furniture retailer Platypus in the new three-storefront building developed by Metrovation –owner of the nearby Grove and Grove West shopping centers – under construction on the site of the former Memory Lanes bowling alley, which burned down in a 2009 blaze.
Metrovation partner Chris Cole tells Churn that Platypus is just weeks away from opening, and that he’s within days of signing a tenant for the third space.