first patio seating, and a dome will grace its southeast corner.
The new restaurant is scheduled to be open by November or December
and will be the beginning of the chain's move toward more attractive
and welcoming eateries.
"This is going to be the staple," said Dikran Iskenderian, a
manager and co-owner of Zankou's six restaurants. "This is going to
be, God willing, what all of Zankou's future stores will be based
Burbank's Zankou is being built from the ground up as part of a
strip mall under construction along San Fernando Boulevard just west
of Burbank Boulevard. The mall, which is being developed by Dell West
Properties, will include a drive-through Starbucks, a Robeks Juice
store, a Quizno's sandwich shop, a nail salon and spa, an IndyMac
Bank branch and an Italian gelato shop, which will also be owned by
the Iskenderian family.
Seven tenants will occupy 13,000 square feet of the
50,000-square-foot lot, said Rafik Khatchaturian, the developer and
owner of the property. The Khatchaturian and Iskenderian families
have known each other for at least 20 years, but have not worked
together until now.
"I went to Italy and was inspired by the Italian architecture,"
Khatchaturian said of his plans to build the project. "I wanted to
create a high-end food court. I think we've been lucky in the
implementation of the idea."
Zankou's Burbank restaurant anchors the strip mall's north end.
The eatery's owners will employ a variety of consultants to plan the
restaurant's paint, lighting, tile and kitchen layout.
"This location -- no one can say anything anymore about the
decor," Iskenderian said. "They can't say anymore, 'it's great food,
but take it to go.'"
About 60% to 70% of Zankou's customers take their food to go, he
said. With its new Burbank restaurant, Iskenderian said he expected
that number to drop to 50%. Iskenderian's grandfather, Vartkes
Iskenderian, opened Zankou's first store in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1962.
Iskenderian's father, Mardiros Iskenderian, immigrated to the United
States and opened the first U.S. location in Hollywood in 1984.
Subsequent stores opened in Glendale in 1984, in Van Nuys in 1992, in
Anaheim in 1996, in Pasadena in 2000 and in West Los Angeles this
If Zankou's Burbank restaurant opens as scheduled, it will be the
first time the chain has opened two stores in one year, Iskenderian
said. Future locations are being considered on Ventura Boulevard near
Tarzana, in Beverly Hills and in eastern Santa Monica.
The family might consider going public one day, but franchising
the Zankou brand is an unlikely idea, Iskenderian said.
"The food is handmade, and the recipes are from my family,"
Iskenderian said of Zankou, which is named after a river in Armenia.
"We don't want the quality of the food to go down."