It all started with a vision, one that started small and has grown rapidly over the past four years.
By Michael Menendez
Little Greek, a young and prosperous business that offers authentic Greek cuisine, has its roots set in Tampa but has expanded its reach throughout Florida.
Who’s the person behind this promising restaurant? Sigrid Bratic, a single mom that was trying to provide for her daughter. Without a college degree, she needed something to give her a sufficient income. Working as a hostess for a restaurant, Bratic wanted to have her own business.
When she saw the open space, she bought it.
Starting her new career, Bratic actually knew nothing about Greek food, but as she saw recipes for Greek cuisine, she started changing recipes to make them her own. The result? People loved it.
Growing from one to three stores in a short amount of time, Bratic found that she needed help expanding. In this economy, it’s extremely impressive that she was able to get to three on her own, but expanding outside of Tampa is no easy task to do alone. This led to Bratic meeting with Jeff Rosenberg and Mike Carson, the present owners of Little Greek Orlando. Although this was their first foray into the restaurant business, Rosenberg and Carson had ample experience in other franchises.
Rosenberg then met with the CEO of Little Greek, Nick Vojnovic (previously the president of Beef O Brady’s).
From then on, the rest is history.
In less than four years, Little Greek has grown from three stores to 20. Rosenberg and Carson bought the territory in Orlando, a prime spot located in Waterford Lakes. Waterford Lakes is a great location, right at the heart of the U.C.F. community and in an area that lacked any true Greek cuisine. This is something that they saw an opportunity to take advantage of.
With restaurant chains like Five Guys, Moe’s, and Jersey Mike’s, they wanted to offer something different to the community. With Little Greek, this team wanted to reach out to the healthy market and appeal to the Greek food lovers of the area that had been horribly deprived.
So where to from here?
Rosenberg and Carson hope to actually leave the restaurant business, in a sense. Their goal is to expand from one store in Orlando to 15-20, a bold and exciting goal. Yet, their vision goes one step further. Their penultimate goal is to find franchisees, wherein they could act as corporate liaison and provide a valuable resource to said franchisees (such as help with the lease).
Beyond the business aspect, Little Greek truly has great food. With kebabs full of flavor, a gyro that is to die for (coming from a writer that doesn’t actually like gyros, something I was nervous to admit to the founder), and baklava that melts in your mouth, Little Greek does something that, in their price bracket, isn’t very common: provide food that is cooked to order.
Everything that is cooking is on display for the guest to view, clearly having faith in their ability to provide quality cooked to order food.
When I tried the lamb, so graciously offered by Ms. Bratic, I couldn’t believe how tender and flavorful the meat was. For a business that has just opened in Orlando, Little Greek is clearly on its way to reaching its goals and aspirations.
Not enough can be said about how exceptional the food really is, providing a truly sumptuous meal. To give a recommendation for this growing restaurant is an understatement: it’s a missed opportunity to not go in and get in touch with your Greek side. Check them out on Facebook by clicking here.
Michael Menendez is a student at the University of Central Florida, where he majors in journalism.