Zoës Kitchen, a fast-casual restaurant serving fresh, made-from-scratch Mediterranean dishes, recently opened its first location in the Bradenton-Sarasota area at 5248 University Parkway.
The fast-growing chain started in Birmingham, Ala., about two decades ago and now has 236 locations in 20 states, including 10 in Florida, with the closest being Tampa and Estero.
“We make everything from scratch and bring in fresh produce six days a week,” general manager Michael Scott said.
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The menu draws from countries around the Mediterranean Sea, including Morocco, Israel, Greece, France and Italy.
Most of the dishes carry a price under $10. Selections include starters such as Mediterranean Lamb Kafka for $5.99 and Hummus Trio for $6.99, and bowls and entrees such as Chicken Orzo Pomodorina for $9.39, Steak Roll-Ups for $9.29 and Steak Kabobs for $12.09.
It’s great-tasting food. There is nothing on our menu that I wouldn’t recommend. It delivers goodness from the inside out.
Michael Scott, Zoës Kitchen manager
Vegan and vegetarian dishes are on the menu, as well.
Small family meals serving three to five are offered for $29.99 and large family meals are offered for $39.99. Childrens menu, fresh take tubs, snack boxes and catering also are offered.
Wine and beer are available starting at noon.
“It’s great-tasting food. There is nothing on our menu that I wouldn’t recommend,” Scott said. “It delivers goodness from the inside out.”
All of the food is grilled. There are no fryers or microwaves in the kitchen.
“We are excited to be in this area. We really try to take care of people,” Scott said.
Kitchen leader Josnni Gutierrez, 27, has worked in the restaurant business since he was 18.
“I love the concept. I like the idea that everything is made fresh every day,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez’s favorite from the menu? Rustic Lamb Pita. It’s pita topped with lamb and beef meatballs, house-made tzatziki, Italian salsa verde, Mediterranean relish, cabbage, feta and fresh dill for $9.89.
“There are two ladies who have come in every day since we opened and want to try everything on the menu,” Gutierrez said.
Assistant manager Umar Saulat recommends his personal favorite: Chicken Orzo Pomodorina for $9.39.
The dish includes grilled chicken, orzo pasta, Italian tomato sauce and a choice of one side.
Zoës Kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The restaurant is located in the University Station shopping center, next to a Whole Foods store that is under construction.