NEW TAMPA - Little Greek, a thriving Tampa-based restaurant chain, is set to open its 13th location today near Publix Supermarket in the New Tampa Center shopping plaza.
The Mediterranean-themed, fast-casual dining establishment's newest outlet is at 19022 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
It is a franchise operation owned by first-time restaurant owner Percy Rosemurgy, 32, of South Tampa.
"It's been a long time coming," Rosemurgy said.
He explored nearly 70 franchise and independent business projects before signing on with Little Greek several months ago.
The restaurant offers Greek dishes such as moussaka, souvlaki, Greek salad and gyros along with traditional American fare, including hamburgers, wraps and French fries.
Sandwiched between Leiva's Jewelry and a new T-Mobile store, the newest Little Greek location is scheduled to make its grand opening at 11 a.m. today. The 1,400-square-foot restaurant with seating for 44 will have about 20 employees.
Store hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Rosemurgy is considering extending the extending business hours after he gets a feel for customer needs, he said.
"We are excited, overwhelmed, (but) it's a lot of fun," Rosemurgy said this week.
The New Tampa store will sport a new interior look for the restaurant chain. The dining space blends retro elements such as reclaimed wood on the walls and wood tables and chairs with modern lighting.
"We are proud of the end product," Rosemurgy said. "Our goal was to improve on the decor package. We wanted to make it comfortable."
Little Greek is co-owned by Nick Vojnovic, a well-known Tampa restaurateur who previously served as president of Beef 'O' Brady's parent company. He bought a majority stake in the Little Greek chain in 2011.
The restaurant aims to draw mainly from New Tampa, Tampa Palms and Wesley Chapel, Vojnovic said.
Its fast and casual dining experience is designed to appeal to young families, urban professionals and an abundance of high school and college students in the area, he said.
"The New Tampa market is well-suited for Little Greek," Vojnovic said.
Vojnovic left Beef 'O' Brady's parent company, Family Sports Concepts, in June 2010 after a private-equity firm bought the restaurant chain and appointed a new chief executive. Vojnovic graduated last year with an executive MBA degree from the University of South Florida.
Vojnovic, the company president, and Estonian immigrant Sigrid Bratic, founder of the restaurant chain, are the leading the operation of 10 locations in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, two in Dallas and one in Austin, Texas.
In addition to the New Tampa restaurant, there are Little Greek locations in Carrollwood, North Tampa near University Mall, South Tampa, Westchase, Westshore Mall, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Palm Harbor and New Port Richey.