The Simple Greek, a fast-casual Greek and Mediterranean restaurant chain, has opened a new unit in Highland Park, Ill., serving lunch and dinner daily. Marcus Lemonis, host of CNBC's hit reality series The Profit, is a partner in the business and is helping to expand the franchise into new areas of the United States.
Lemonis' relationship with the restaurant began when the Pittsburgh chain, My Big Fat Greek Gyro, was featured on The Profit, where Lemonis turns around small struggling businesses and buys an ownership stake in the companies. Lemonis partnered with founders Michael Ference and Kathleen Kamouyerou-Ference, who fulfilled their dream of opening a Greek restaurant 10 years ago when they opened the McMurray, Pa., location.
As a result of the new partnership, the owners rebranded the chain as The Simple Greek, with an open assembly line model for gyros, salads and sides. All current locations also underwent extensive renovations to revamp the storefronts and develop a more modern, consistent eat-in experience for customers. The Highland Park location is the first new franchise to open since the partnership began. Three existing locations are in the greater Pittsburg area.