Emerging fast-casual brand celebrates first franchise-owned location, earns national recognition and launches new menu items
Coming off one of its most successful years ever, Apóla Greek Grill turned its eyes to even bigger and better things in 2023. After a victorious first quarter, Apóla is well on its way to achieving just that.
The emerging fast casual brand started the year by celebrating the grand opening of its first franchise-owned location at the Galleria at Tyler shopping center in Riverside in February. It marks Apóla’s fourth overall location and is an anchor in the mall’s food court that has proven to be popular with mall employees and visitors.
Apóla has always been popular with its fans across Southern California for selling the ‘Most Authentic Greek Gyro you can get without buying a plane ticket!’ That same recognition came from the national level to start 2023 with Co-Founder Yianni Kosmides speaking at the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit in Florida and being featured in Authority Magazine.
Kosmides used his public forum as an opportunity to focus on the necessities Apóla applies to run a successful business and cutting costs in difficult times to remain efficient. That personal approach paid off in a big way with Apóla named to QSR’s 40/40 list, which highlights the hottest fast casual startups in the United States.
“We did some great work in 2022, but we’re off to an even better start this year,” said Kosmides. “Making the QSR 40/40 is huge for our profile and, on the local level, being able to celebrate the new restaurant in Riverside was huge for our fans. We still have a lot more to accomplish, but we’re definitely going to enjoy these big wins.”
The brand’s expansion was the perfect gift for fans as it rolled out two new menu items. The Shrimp Pita debuted just in time for Lent, giving a tasty option to Apóla regulars who are avoiding meat with shrimp soaked in a one-of-a kind olive oil and herb blend, combined with mixed greens, pickles, red cabbage and a handful of fries on a warm pita. The Breakfast Bowl just launched in March and is a hearty option to start the day, featuring three scrambled eggs, hash browns, shredded cheese and the choice of protein.
Apóla wrapped up its celebratory first quarter by giving back to the community with the presentation of a $2,500 check to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. The donation was the result of a campaign celebrating the brand’s fifth anniversary by donating 5% of all proceeds from the sales of Apóla Pita Sandwiches, Plates, and Bowls.
Expect the victories and accolades to continue with Apóla opening its fifth location in Valencia sometime this summer with its newest franchise partner, local restauranter Caroline Daniel. A sixth location in Los Angeles County, Orange County or San Diego County is also expected to open before the end of the year. Kosmides will further promote the Greek brand on the “Behind the Mediterranean Apron” podcast, and through student engagement and other initiatives with his alma mater, the University of Southern California.
Apóla has been featured locally in The Los Angeles Herald and California Telegraph and on the lifestyle TV show This is LA. The emerging concept was ranked fifth in Fast Casual’s prestigious “Brands to Watch” in 2021 and recently earned a spot on QSR’s 40/40 list. To learn more about Apóla Greek Grill or to view the full menu, visit eatapola.com.
Apóla Greek Grill is taking the United States by storm with its authentic Greek cuisine. Founded by brothers Yianni and Stefano Kosmides in Irvine, Calif., the fast-casual brand has gained a loyal following throughout SoCal for its fresh ingredients and familiar vibe. It is best known for serving the ‘Most Authentic Greek Gyro you can get without buying a plane ticket!’ Despite having only two family-owned locations in Irvine and Yorba Linda, Calif., Apóla was ranked No. 5 on Fast Casual’s “Brands to Watch” in 2021. For more information, visit eatapola.com or follow Apóla on Instagram.
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