Massis Kabob’s First Standalone Location Puts 20 Feet of Open-Fire Grilling Up Front

The 45-year-old brand's first location outside of a mall will boast 150 seats and feature designated mobile order parking spots.

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Massis Kabob is putting all of the cooking on display at its new flagship store, expected to open this summer in Glendale, Calif. Courtesy of Massis Kabob.

The Armenian cuisine chain Massis Kabob has always been about showcasing its open-fire cooking, but with six locations all in malls, space has been limited. Now that the Los Angeles-based brand is opening its first standalone location, clocking in at 4,000 sq. ft., it’s taking every opportunity to put the full cooking process on display.

massis kabob

The 4,000-sq.-ft. store will open on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Glendale Avenue. Courtesy of Massis Kabob.

The new flagship location, set to open this summer in Glendale, Calif., features a unique kitchen setup with none of the cooking done in the back-of-house. Instead, food is prepped in the back, moved to a middle corridor with a two-way refrigerator that opens from the back and front and taken out by chefs in the front-of-house to cook on 20 feet of open-fire gas grilling.

“It’s kind of an odd setup because, in most restaurants, all the cooking is done in the back kitchen, and the front is just for retail and counter space,” says Gevik Baghdassarian, co-owner of Massis Kabob. “Well, we actually do all the cooking in the front. So when a customer walks in, they see the grill. This is something we’ve always done, but post-COVID it’s been a real interest to customers because you never lose sight of the food you’re ordering.”

The design also is more efficient and streamlined, he says. The center refrigerator has stainless steel doors in the front and see-through glass doors in the back, giving back-of-house staff a clear view of what items need to be restocked without having to open the doors and lose temperature.

The setup also reduces the need for back-of-house employees to come to the front and vice versa, creating a more streamlined operation, says Baghdassarian. For taking orders, the store will use a digital display system that populates from the POS, showing staff which orders need to be prepared and nixing the need to run tickets.

As for the 20-foot cookline, it’s made up of two six-foot kebob broilers, a gyro machine, a fryer for falafel and french fries and a three-foot griddle for fish dishes.

The new location, at the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Glendale Avenue, will boast 150 seats in the indoor dining area and outdoor patio. While it won’t have a drive-thru, as Baghdassarian says they’re hard to get approved in Los Angeles County, the location will feature mobile order parking spots, allowing the brand to grow its curbside and delivery business.

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