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Gyros, falafel and shawarma are coming to Atascadero

Samples of dishes to be served at Byblos Mediterranean Grill in Atascadero. Pictured here are falafel, hummus and pita bread with cucumbers and tomatoes.
Samples of dishes to be served at Byblos Mediterranean Grill in Atascadero. Pictured here are falafel, hummus and pita bread with cucumbers and tomatoes.

Sam Ayesh is bringing Mediterranean food to Atascadero.

The owner of Bravo Pizza Plus is opening a new restaurant, Byblos Mediterranean Grill, at 5945 Traffic Way, in the spot previously occupied by Fig Good Food, which moved to Templeton in November.

“I have a Mediterranean background, and I’ve always wanted to introduce Mediterranean to Atascadero,” Ayesh said.

Ayesh, who is Jordanian, said his menu will feature traditional Greek and Middle Eastern fare including gyros, falafel, shawarma, grape leaves and tabbouleh, along with soups and salads. He said he’s been trying out new twists on some of the dishes, such as using quinoa in tabbouleh, which is normally bulgur-based.

“It’s going to be unique,” Ayesh said. “It’s going to have a bit more spice to it.”

Byblos will likely be a take-out restaurant at first, because the space is only big enough to seat about 10 people at a time, Ayesh said. He’s renting the small restaurant, which he said already had a commercial kitchen that only needed small adjustments.

Ayesh estimated he invested about $2,000 to get Byblos started. He’s hoping Bravo Pizza’s solid reputation will help draw people to his new eatery.

“People know me,” Ayesh said. “I’m usually their friend because I’m the pizza guy, you know?”

Byblos will be open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Ayesh said interested customers can stop by next week to try out dishes as part of the restaurant’s soft opening. He said he plans to officially open the eatery Feb. 1.

“I think people are ready to try something different,” Ayesh said.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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