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Meet Nader Khatib of Laziza Mediterranean Grill in Evans

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nader Khatib.

Nader, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I left a government contractor job in 2011 to pursue my dream of opening my own restaurant. I used multiple sources to finance the opening of the first Mediterranean fast-casual concept in the Augusta area. I found an old 1600SF Quiznos Sub unit in a shopping center that I was able to inexpensively retrofit for my concept.

Mediterranean cuisine wasn’t represented at all in the area prior to my opening, so I knew we were going to be pioneering this type of cuisine, and we had to do it right. We focus on fresh, cooked to order platters, salads, and pita wraps. The key to attaining success is to maintain quality and consistency. We pride ourselves on fast service and using the freshest ingredients.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been an easy road to success. I decided to take on a business partner shortly after opening to help manage operations. Unfortunately, our partnership was not a good match and we parted ways last year. That experience, as difficult as it was, really helped me refocus on what was important. If you’re going to go into business with someone, make sure your visions and goals for the business line up.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Laziza Mediterranean Grill – what should we know?
Laziza Mediterranean Grill is a fast-casual Mediterranean food concept that focuses on fresh, healthy cooked to order food. The name Laziza literally means “delicious” in Arabic. Our most popular specialty is the Chicken Shawarma. We use boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are marinated and cooked on a vertical broiler. We shave it thin as it cooks and serve it on a rice platter, in a pita wrap, or on one of our three fresh salads. We also make our own hummus in four flavors, classic, roasted red pepper, roasted garlic and jalapeno.

As a company, I am most proud of the loyal customer following that we have and to see that base continue to grow. Many of our customers have tried us based on a family or friends’ recommendation and the support from the local community in spreading the word about our food has been amazing. My recipes are adaptations of the food my mom cooked for me growing up and I love that I can share that. We have been very well received by our customers, which tells me we are doing something right.

What sets us apart from the competition is our service, consistency in food quality and value.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I am fortunate to have a great team of employees. My turnover is below average when it comes to restaurants and I credit that to creating an environment where people enjoy to work. I focus on developing my employees to excel and fulfill their potential.

I also have to thank my wife Lisa for her support from the beginning. She recently retired from the U.S. Navy and joined the team. Her organizational experience has helped greatly with front of house operations and our catering services. Things are definitely running smoother since she came on board!

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