Tommy Keet, president of JTJ Restaurants LLC of Little Rock, said the company plans to open its Taziki’s Mediterranean Café location in Bentonville on December 9.
“If not then, it’ll be within a week of that,” Keet said. “But we’ll be open by the end of the year.”
Brothers Jake and Tommy Keet and their father, Jim Keet, are the principals behind JTJ Restaurants. Jim Keet is managing partner and CEO of the Taziki’s chain, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.
Taziki’s is a fast-casual Greek food-inspired chain launched in 1998. It now has locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
JTJ Restaurants owns two Taziki’s locations in Little Rock, one in Conway and another in Fayetteville.
The Fayetteville franchise opened July 8 at 95 E. Joyce Blvd. and is off to a “huge” start, Tommy Keet said.
“It’s been the biggest opening we have experienced,” said Keet, who will open the Bentonville location with Brad Compton, JTJ Restaurant’s operating partner for Northwest Arkansas.
The Bentonville restaurant will be an end cap tenant at The Shoppes at Fountain Plaza, a new 22,973-SF retail development at 1000 S.E. Walton Blvd.
Van Tassel-Proctor Construction of Little Rock recently finished construction on the $4 million development.
Taziki’s will occupy about 3,400-SF, with seating for 130 patrons. It will include patio seating and a drive-thru window, an amenity Keet expects to be popular among vendors and other executives who dominate Bentonville’s robust lunch crowd.
“The drive-thru is going to be kicking,” Keet said. “We’ve expanded our kitchen to have a designated grill and salad table just for the drive-thru, and there will be employees dedicated to drive-thru orders.”
Keet said the company’s restaurants in Conway and Fayetteville also have drive-thru windows, but he sees the option in Bentonville as a necessity to compete for business during the lunch rush.
The drive-thru traffic, he said, could potentially account for 40 percent of the Bentonville restaurant’s lunch business on certain days.
“We want to be thought of as a leader in terms of providing the best option for a fresh, healthy lunch. Or dinner, for that matter,” he said.
Keet said the Dec. 9 opening would be a “Friends & Family Day”, with a local charity benefiting from customer donations throughout the day. There will be no charge for food.
A similar event at the Fayetteville location in July raised $1,000 for The Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club.
Keet said the restaurant group has scouted potential locations in Northwest Arkansas for future Taziki’s restaurants, including the former MarketPlace Grill on Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers
He said, however, it’s too early to speculate on further growth.
“Our priority right now is keeping Fayetteville at a high level, and opening the Bentonville store and being well prepared there,” he said.