Inside the Citgo station on the northeast corner of Platt and Ellsworth (which one Observer staffer says consistently has the best gas prices in town), Ehab Samaha, who has owned the station for ten years, recently opened New York 5th Avenue Subs & Gyros. “It looks like a franchise,” he agrees, “but it’s the first one. For the future, maybe there will be more.” The sandwiches, which he says are all kosher and halal, range from tuna to turkey to beef-and-lamb gyros; there’s delivery within a five-mile radius ($10 minimum). “I’ve been to New York a few times,” he says, and he always liked the sandwich shops that thrive in the middle of Manhattan.
New York 5th Avenue Subs & Gyros, 3891 Platt Rd., 975-8642 (Citgo station). Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Closed Sun. ny5thavenuegrill.com
Samaha also owns the small plaza across the street whose most prominent tenant so far is Biggby. In September, Samaha was in the process of opening Cherry Bee, a froyo place. Cherry Bee, like 5th Avenue across the street, is his own invention and may be the first in a chain.
Samaha has an easy smile and a playful wit. He came up with the name Cherry Bee, he says, after asking family and friends and even paying a branding consultant to no avail. “I like bees and how they work,” he says, so he started “looking for a word that went along with bee” and hit on cherry. “It sounds good, doesn’t it? Cherry Bee. It’s fun to say. I was looking for a certain rhythm.”Wordsmith that he is, he still hasn’t come up with a name for the plaza. “Maybe we’ll call it Cherry Plaza,” he says. “Who knows?