It took two years, but Mediterranean Gyro Grill is finally open in University Place. It had its soft opening Thursday and will continue with regular hours. The restaurant, near Whole Foods, will serve lunch and dinner daily.
The location is an expansion for Jay Barbour, who opened his original Mediterranean Gyro Grill in Federal Way about four years ago.
Before that, he owned a restaurant in Des Moines, which his brother now runs.
Barbour’s Federal Way restaurant feels casual with a come-as-you-are sensibility, but the University Place restaurant will aim for a broader dining experience with a full cocktail bar and a piano in the dining room for occasional live music. The restaurant will be an unusual find for University Place, a city notoriously short on dining options.
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The University Place location has date-night possibilities, but children won’t be out of place, either.
Barbour plans to bring belly dancers to the new restaurant, as he does in Federal Way.
The menu covers a broad swath of the Mediterranean cuisine with Greek, Lebanese, Italian and Syrian menu items. Barbour’s heart is in the lamb dishes, which his mother taught him to cook.
Find meze-style appetizers, including outstanding baba ganoush, plus hummus, dolmades and spanakopita. There are also beef, lamb and chicken shawarma plates. Gyro meat is shaved from a spinning cone at the Federal Way location and is available as a plate or sandwich.
For vegetarians, there is falafel (and look to the meze menu for more options).
Diners will find dishes many will be hard pressed to find at Pierce County restaurants, including the meaty turnovers called kibbeh and zarah, the roasted cauliflower dish.
Barbour said the University Place restaurant will offer seafood items not available at his Federal Way restaurant.
The Village at Chambers Bay is also home to a Top Pot Doughnuts and soon will have an Anthem Coffee and Tea. In 2018, Bliss Small Batch Creamery and Qdoba will open in a new building under construction at The Village at Chambers Bay.
Mediterranean Gyro Grill
University Place: 3555 Market Place W, University Place; 253-314-5122. Open for lunch and dinner daily.
Federal Way: 34024 Hoyt Road SW, Federal Way; 253-874-1144.