(Update: Adding video, comments from ‘Great Greek’ owners, customers)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — While Labor Day might mark the end of a holiday weekend for some, others decided to open a new business Monday.
A new Mediterranean-inspired cuisine restaurant has opened in southeast Bend, called The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, which has franchise locations across the country.
“The really special thing about our fast-casual restaurant is that the recipes that were started in a mom-and-pop-shop, the original Great Greek, are still the exact same recipes we use today” Christine Ellis, one of the owners, told us on Monday.
It features all the Greek food items one could want, including gyros, salads, wraps and Greek-inspired desserts such as baklava.
The Great Greek is also one of the first businesses to open in the newly developed Reed South Marketplace at 27th Street and Reed Market Road, along with a new Cascade Lakes Brewing location.
Its owners, Brian and Christine Ellis, have been married for 5 years, raising their six kids in Redmond for the past 7 years.
“We started because we decided we wanted to have a business together. To support our family and just a life change. Something that we could do and be together” Christine explained.
The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill opened their first location in Henderson, Nevada in 2011.
Bend’s location marks the companies 38th overall, according to the Ellis family.
Brian and Christine decided to franchise a Great Greek location after realizing the lack of Mediterranean options in east Bend, and loving the food themselves after getting flown out to Vegas to try it first-hand.
“Then we ended up talking to another individual that said hey” Brian began, “We have a franchise that you can be interested in. Everybody we talked to said bring it to this area.”
Positions at the Great Greek start at $15.50/hour, working up to $22/hour.
We talked with a few customers, who were more than ready for the opening day.
“It was awesome!” one said, while another added “Definitely a thumbs up!”
Another customer, Debbie Tuttle, told NewsChannel 21, “So we walked up here for lunch. And we wanted to be the first ones here when they opened up at 11, which we were.”
She added, “It’s nice to support small businesses, and local people, So, it’s good.”
In addition to opening their first business together, Labor Day also saw the Ellis family send one of their kids off to the Army.
The Bend location is Great Greek’s first in the state of Oregon, with a location in Tigard set to open later this year.