Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

Greek-inspired restaurant serves made-to-order items with fresh ingredients

Posted: January 5, 2014 at 6 a.m.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe serves freshly-prepared, healthier alternatives to fast-casual and fast-food eateries. The first restaurant was created in Birmingham, Ala., after founders Keith and Amy Richards returned from a vacation to Greece. The colorful, Mediterranean cafes serving fresh and flavorful dishes sparked the concept of Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe.

“We fit into the realm of fast casual, but we like to say we’re fresh casual,” said Tommy Keet.

There are no microwaves and no fryers in the restaurant. Sauces and dressings are made in house, meats are butchered in house and fresh produce is cut in house, often twice a day.

“Our goal is to start over every morning from scratch,” Keet said.

Keet owns and operates five Taziki’s locations in Arkansas with his brother, Jake, and their father, Jim. Brad Compton is the Northwest Arkansas managing partner.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe opened their first Northwest Arkansas location in Fayetteville on July 9, next to the Malco Razorback Theater on Joyce Boulevard.

On Dec. 20, they opened a location at 1000 SE Walton Boulevard in The Shoppes at Fountain Plaza. Taziki’s will operate out of the corner unit of the newly-constructed shopping center.

The restaurant is about 3,400 square feet and can seat just more than 120 guests. As with the Fayetteville store, the Bentonville location will also provide a patio and drive-thru window.

The drive-thru window offers a limited menu, allowing for faster service of the made-to-order items. Customers are also welcome to call in advance to pick up orders at the drive-thru window or at the indoor counter.

Inside the restaurant, customers place and pay for their orders at a counter, then receive a tabletop card holder with a number. Drinks are available at a self-service station, and the food is delivered to the table by a staff member.

The menu includes several vegetarian options, including appetizers such as hummus, Taziki dip, spicy pimento cheese and dolmades, which are hand-rolled grape leaves stuffed with a tumeric-seasoned basmati rice and grilled onions.

Fresh salads include a Greek salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, kalamata olives, feta and Greek dressing; and a Mediterranean salad with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, roasted red peppers, garbanzo beans, roasted pecans and feta with balsamic vinaigrette.

Fresh-grilled gyros and deli-style sandwiches are served with a choice of side item. Offerings include a grilled lamb or beef tenderloin gyro served with Taziki sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and grilled onions.

The turkey club gyro includes a thick-cut slice of turkey breast that is seasoned, grilled and layered with hickory bacon, Swiss cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and pesto mayonnaise.

There is a grilled chicken roll-up, grilled tilapia sandwich with caper-dill tartar sauce and a roasted lemon-herb chicken salad sandwich, among several others.

There are also entree selections that come with a Greek salad and choice of basmati rice or roasted new potatoes.

Meat selections include beef, chicken, pork and lamb. Fish and seafood options include salmon, shrimp and tilapia.

Daily chalkboard specials give an extra option to the standard menu. The features include Portobello mushroom sandwich with grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, Swiss cheese and mushroom butter on a kaiser bun on Mondays; roasted pork loin sandwich with lettuce, tomato and tomato chutney aioli on a kaiser bun on Tuesdays; Spanakopita roll-up with grilled chicken, fresh spinach and feta in a grilled flour tortilla on Wednesdays; Taziki’s Taco with grilled tilapia, diced tomatoes, slaw and a spicy herb sauce in a tortilla on Thursdays; and Taziki’s Signature Pasta with penne and grilled chicken tossed in balsamic vinaigrette served on a bed of lettuce and topped with tomatoes, feta and fresh basil Friday-Sunday.

Side items include basmati rice, roasted new potatoes, pasta salad, tomato-cucumber salad and fresh-cut fruit. Desserts include made-from-scratch dark chocolate cake with Richmond icing and Hellas Bakery Baklava.

There is also a “Dinner for 4” menu that provides a salad, entree, rice and potatoes.

Pint- and quart-sized portions of pimento cheese, lemon-chicken soup, or Egg & Olive salad, among other offerings, are also available.

Hours at both locations are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday.

LOCATION: 95 E. Joyce Blvd., Fayetteville, (479) 521-8291

LOCATION: 1000 SE Walton Blvd., Bentonville, (479) 715-0647

WEBSITE: tazikiscafe.com

NICE TO KNOW: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon-Sat, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun. Healthy and juicy grilled meats and seafood, crisp salads, hearty feasts, gyros and sandwiches.

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