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Tallahassee Taziki's Set for September Opening

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Tom Flanigan
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A different kind of chain restaurant will be opening in Tallahassee next month. It’s a departure from the recent wave of burger and pizza emporiums that have been locating in the Capital City.

On a recent morning, Franchisee John Figert was giving a quick tour of what will be Tallahassee’s first Taziki’s Mediterranean Café in the Magnolia Grove development.

“Basically we’ll have the dining room here…tables here….that’s our food production area,” he pointed out as construction crews swarmed all over the site.

Figert originally hails from Birmingham, Alabama. He’s a career restaurant operator and prides himself on identifying prime expansion markets for franchises. He firmly believes Tallahassee is such a place.

“There’s a lot you grow to love about Tallahassee because it’s one of those small towns that’s big enough to give you a city experience but small enough so that you can get anywhere in town in 20-25 minutes,” he said.

Beyond that, Figert sees this location as generally favorable to business.

“We think it’s a good growth area. The stability of the local government here we think it’s great, having the university is a plus.”

As to what kind of food the restaurant will serve, Figert admitted the “Mediterranean Café” moniker is a little confusing. Most people assume it’s Greek or perhaps Lebanese food. But he insisted there’s a definite American take on the multiple culinary traditions that ring the Mediterranean Sea.

“But it really I think has a southern hometown twist, so while we sell gyros and sell salads and we make our own dressings for those salads, the reality of it is we sell items like pork tenderloin sandwich with tomato chutney aioli and it’s not a Mediterranean or Greek item; it’s an American item.”

And Figert said salad dressings aren’t the only thing Taziki’s makes from scratch.

“We have no freezers; we have no fryers. And we really pride ourselves on the freshness of our food. I think that the consumers these days demand it and we’re proud that we’re a part of being able to deliver it to them.”

That emphasis on fresh food preparation, Figert said, means a much larger staff than is typical for a twenty-five hundred square foot restaurant.

“So we try to target around 40 or 45 employees.”

Figert said staff recruitment was already underway with the first of two job fairs, this one conducted by Career Source Capital Region.

“That job fair will be at 2601 Blair Stone Road, suite 200 from 9 to 5 on August 25th. Then we have another job fair on site at our restaurant on September 1st and we’ll have people on site from 9 a.m. in the morning until 6 in the afternoon or early evening.”

As to when the Tallahassee Taziki’s will be open for business, Figert said the target is late September.

“We’re shooting for the 27th and I’d say at this point we’re on target for that date.”

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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