Demetrios Atheneos, who operates the popular Chicken Ranch (13892 Cedar Rd., 216-938-7645), will open Zina Greek Street Food (13898 Cedar Rd.) today in a shop a few doors down from that University Heights restaurant. He and his brother and business partner Niko will open the doors from 4 to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow, January 20-21. They will briefly close the shop Sunday and Monday and reopen on Wednesday.
The plan is to start with dinners only and then add lunch service down the road.
“I’ve been cooking in Cleveland for 22 years – 35 years overall – and it’s always been classic French or old-school Continental,” Atheneos explains. “I’m Italian and Greek and I’ve never done an Italian or Greek restaurant. Me and my brother Niko are so excited about this project. We’ve been trying to get it off the ground for some time.”
The move also aligns with the chef’s desire to move away from opening large, complex restaurants to focus on smaller, leaner operations like Chicken Ranch.
“Everything I’m doing now is fast-casual, counter service,” he says. “I’m targeting take-out and third-party delivery.”
Zina offers “good, clean Greek street foods,” says the chef. A concise menu of staples like lamb sliders, gyros, chicken and pork souvlaki, spanakopita and loukoumades (Greek donuts) will be joined by daily or weekly specials like pastitsio and moussaka.
While primarily a take-out joint, Zina has a small dining room for people who wish to eat on site.
Atheneos says that in addition to his inherent fondness for Greek cuisine, he was motivated by a lack of such options on Cleveland’s east side.
“One of the main reasons I’m doing this is because the west side has a handful of Greek places – from fast-casual to fine dining,” he explains. “It’s important for me to open a real Greek restaurant where you can get real great Greek flavors.”
Meanwhile, the chef’s Market on Lee/Dominick’s Deli project, which we covered in June, is delayed by construction issues but still moving forward.