It’s time to don your laurel crown and toga! The Simple Greek, a new fast-casual greek restaurant, has revealed plans to open in Downtown St. Pete.
The new eatery will occupy 2,000 square feet on the ground floor of the AER apartment building, which opened in May 2016. The other 2,700 square feet will soon be home to Tampa Bay’s first Bento Cafe, an asian kitchen and sushi restaurant.
Think of The Simple Greek as Chipotle, but for greek food. In other words, customers choose between a bowl or a pita and then follow their order down the counter as their meal is built. After choosing a protein, such as traditional gyro, chicken gyro, grilled steak or grilled chicken, toppings and sauce are added. There are ten toppings available — feta cheese, red onions, scallions, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives and more. The sauce selection includes tzatziki, greek dressing, garlic cream, and hummus.
Additionally, the restaurant will feature a greek yogurt bar, where customers can select an assortment of toppings including honey, blueberries, dark chocolate, pistachios, etc. Also on the menu are traditional greek side dishes such as stuffed grape leaves or dolmades, spanakopita spinach pie, and tiropita cheese pie.
The Simple Greek was formed on The Profit, a CNBC show hosted by businessman and investor Marcus Lemonis. In the 2014 episode, Lemonis purchased a 55% stake in My Big Fat Greek Gyro and rebranded it as The Simple Greek.
Today, there are 14 locations scattered across the country with many more on the way. Earlier this year, The Simple Greek opened a location in Carrollwood, owned by Tony DeSisto, a Tampa-based attorney and civic activist. However, the Downtown St. Pete franchise will be owned by Steve Lenardos and Dean Gregory, who both own a Culver’s on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.
“We wanted to expand our restaurant portfolio and after watching The Profit, we started to think about opening another branch of The Simple Greek in Tampa Bay,” says Lenardos. After flying to Chicago and tasting the food, Lenardos and Gregory had their minds made up. And with the recent residential boom in St. Pete, The Sunshine City seemed like the perfect fit.
The St. Pete location is scheduled to open on December 1st, with 40 seats inside along with outdoor seating. The Simple Greek will be open every day for lunch and dinner. Be sure to follow The Simple Greek on Facebook to stay up-to-date on grand opening festivities.