BEACH PARK — It has been open only about six weeks, but already the new fast-casual spot Gogos Greek Grill has the look and feel of an established chain.
That's no accident, say the founders of the restaurant at 4616 W Kennedy Blvd., the former site of an Edy's Grand ice cream parlor.
Gogos Greek Grill is like "Louis Pappas meets Chipotle," said co-founder Dennis Mousouris, comparing the local Greek restaurant chain with the national dish-it-out-fast Mexican concept.
The focus is on all-natural meats: chicken, steak, pork and traditional gyro meat, with options to customize them however you want. Options include a pita, salad, wrap or low-carb bowl.
Service is fast, Mousouris said. "You're sitting and eating in about five to 10 minutes."
The restaurant's Web site already is touting expansion opportunities. Mousouris said the company hopes to have new restaurants by the end of the year, potentially near the University of South Florida campus and in Hyde Park.
While fast-casual restaurants are said to have a better chance of thriving in a recession, Mousouris said the concept has actually been in the works for several years.
He joined forces with his cousins, Gregory and Michael Anastasas, and area restaurateur Dallas Owens. The restaurant is named after the cousins' Uncle Gogos. The three grew up in Queens, where they developed an appreciation for ethnic foods.
Among them, the owners have plenty of restaurant experience: Mousouris with a coffee shop and deli in New York, Greg Anastasas as part owner of the Rack, and Owens as creator of Mojitos Grill in Brandon and, recently, Grille 54 in Trinity.
Hours at Gogos Greek Grill are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Exclusive tile store moves to W Kennedy
Ten years after its founding and in need of a makeover, Marla Davidson Tile and Stone is relocating closer to the bulk of its clientele.
The high-end tile seller — "Neiman Marcus of tile," said owner Marla Davidson — is moving to a 3,000-square-foot showroom at 3421 W Kennedy Blvd., a bit closer to a more centrally located area.
The company is moving from a 1,500-square-foot showroom at 5810 Benjamin Center Drive at the end of the month. The new store, with displays of tile and stone for floors and walls, should be open the first week of May, Davidson said.
"The area we are in now was the tile hub (in the area) nine years ago, and that has changed," she said.
The company specializes in both American-made and imported tile from companies including Artistic Tile, Pratt & Larson, Sonoma Tilemakers and other lines sought after by architects and designers. Business remains steady despite the recession, Davidson said.
"The higher-end consumer, although they have in some cases been more reserved, they still want what they want and can afford what they want," she said. "They are still moving forward. We don't see the luxury consumer in this area really slowing down as much as the rest of the world economy has."
The showroom will be open to the public, unlike some high-end distributors who are only open to architects, designers or builders. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with tentative plans for limited hours on Saturday for browsing only. The company's Web site is www.marladavidsontilestone.com.
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