The Simple Greek is bringing build-your-own gyros and Mediterranean bowls to Ankeny

Diners will be able to assemble their own Greek gyros and bowls at a new fast-casual restaurant opening in Ankeny next month.

The Simple Greek will open in mid-October at 1550 N. Ankeny Blvd. in the suite formerly occupied by Zombie Burger + Shake Lab.

The restaurant franchise’s concept uses an assembly line approach similar to Chipotle or Pancheros, but with Mediterranean food. It was founded in 2015 by Marcus Lemonis, inspired by a restaurant concept from his CNBC television show, “The Profit.” The restaurant was franchised in 2016.

Customers start with a bowl or pita and proceed down the line to add ingredients. Protein fillings including traditional gyro meat, chicken gyro meat, grilled steak, grilled chicken, lentils, falafel and Mediterranean shrimp. Customers can add a variety of vegetables, toppings and Greek sauces for finishing touches.

Side dishes include roasted potatoes, fries and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), as well as desserts like rizogalo (Greek rice pudding), baklava, baklava cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies.

Lynn Hoban, The Simple Greek’s vice president of marketing and brand development, said many of the products are made from scratch and the restaurant offers several healthy options that fit a variety of diets.

“We’ve got a lot of options for vegans, vegetarians, people who want to stick to the keto diet — and we’re closely aligned with the Mediterranean diet,” she said.

Hoban said the restaurant is expected to have a grand opening in mid-October. A final date has not been set.

The Simple Greek currently has 33 restaurants in 16 states. The company plans to exceed 50 restaurants by the end of 2019. This will be its first restaurant in Iowa.

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