The brothers behind New York Chicken and Gyro, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Canoga Park, are seizing upon their pandemic-era success to launch two new locations, showcasing their halal menu in Venice and Pasadena with plans to continue expanding.
“It has been a really, really great year for us, to be honest,” Moe Mehirdel, the eldest of the three owners, said. “I know it was just awful for a lot of small businesses all across the country, especially here in California, but it was really great for us.”
He and his brothers Sam and Hafiz opened the flagship Canoga Park location in 2017, but business has particularly boomed the last 18 months. Their fast-casual menu features chicken, lamb, fish and falafel options, averaging $10 a plate, and developed a loyal following of regular customers ordering takeout and delivery.
“We transitioned really fast into these online ordering companies. They took care of us by lowering their percentage; we even made our own app around March of 2020. The app has done wonders for our customers, ordering is easy, coming and picking it up from the food locker that we have in any of our locations,” Moe Mehirdel said.
In response to the surge in business, the siblings decided to expand. The new Venice location, opening in October, will be the brothers’ third restaurant, in addition to their recently renovated and expanded flagship and a food court stall in West L.A. After more than a year of searching for the right location, their fourth restaurant, in Pasadena, will open in early 2022.
“We want to open up a location all across these amazing cities and towns you guys have in L.A. – Pasadena, North Hollywood. We have Venice coming up next month,” Moe Mehirdel, a Queens, New York native, said. “Eventually, we could, hopefully, take our talents to San Francisco, take our amazing food to San Diego.”
While they didn’t initially set out to build a restaurant chain, the brothers got excited with the success of the Canoga Park location. And, having grown up helping with their father’s former pizza cookery in New York, building the new restaurants as a family project has been integral to the way they run the business.
“There are ups and downs, you know, but then at the end of the day, the great thing about our family is we squash everything before going home. Whatever happens in the business stays at the business,” Moe Mehirdel said. “It is challenging, but it is a big benefit to being with your family because you understand each other’s habits. You understand each other’s behaviors. And so I feel like running a business with your family is a blessing.”