The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, a growing fast-casual chain, is making its local entrance in a corner retail space fronting Pittsfield’s upscale Uptown Ann Arbor apartment community.
May 1 is its “pretty firm” opening date, according to operations manager Lama Plyler, a partner in a small “family and friends” franchisee group aiming to open twenty-five Great Greeks in Michigan. The southside restaurant is their fourth, following Troy, Shelby Township, and West Bloomfield. They also have a food truck and offer catering throughout the region.
“We’ve been anticipating Ann Arbor for quite some time,” Plyler says, but pandemic-related setbacks delayed progress. “We’ve had that location for, I want to say, well over a year.”
The modern, open design seats fifty-five and is bounded by windows on two sides. A patio will accommodate another thirty guests once temperatures stay warm enough. Plyler says about 60 percent of customers at other locations order takeout or third-party delivery, with the rest dining in. Orders are placed at the counter; staff brings meals to the table and clears them customers are done.
“Like a lot of other restaurants, a lot has shifted over to takeout,” she observes. “We love dine-in. Obviously it’s better for execution purposes. And we just like for the guests to experience it, right?”
She and her partners’ experience with Great Greek started with enjoying their food in Las Vegas, where the company is based, but it hasn’t stayed there. “We thought that they brought something new to the table. I think in the fast-casual arena, there’s a huge need or desire from the consumers for a healthier option.”
Along with signature Mediterranean staples like gyros, souvlaki, falafel, and more, the menu accommodates kids, vegetarians, vegans, and the gluten-free. Plyler particularly points to the popular rice bowl—a pilaf surrounded by chopped salad and topped with a protein of choice.
Citing authentic Greek recipes cooked to order (or shaved from the gyro rotisserie skewer) and daily in-house prep, nearly all from scratch, Plyler believes they have the formula to continue launching at least one new location per year.
“I love when Greek people come into the restaurant,” she says, “because I tell them, ‘Challenge accepted!’”
The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, 3268 Ann Arbor–Saline Rd. (734) 373–7000. Daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m. thegreatgreekgrill.com/ann-arbor-mi