A member of the family that created Zankou Chicken is staking his name — actually his brother's — on his ability to replicate the success of the rotisserie chicken chain with a new Mexican restaurant called Ara's Tacos.
Steve Iskenderian, 34, is hoping that customers will line up for Mexican-flavored, spit-roasted chicken and beef the way they do for Zankou's chicken tarna and beef shawerma when his new restaurant opens next week.
It shares a building with a Zankou restaurant, which Iskenderian co-owns, at 901 W. Glenoaks Blvd. in Glendale.
As a half-dozen fresh-faced new hires took turns practicing dishing up the perfect taco portion of steak and attempting to master the art of rolling a burrito, Iskenderian explained that the genesis for Ara's Tacos came last fall when he learned that the space's former owner, Sidewalk Café, was going out of business.
“I was confident in the location,” he said. “I saw it as an opportunity to diversify our portfolio, so to speak. Why put all our eggs in one basket?”