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GRILLit sets opening date

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Latin-Caribbean fusion restaurant committed to fresh ingredients

By Marty Finley

A new Latin-Caribbean fusion restaurant in Elizabethtown has settled on an opening date in time for the holidays.

GRILLit, which focuses on custom cuisine such as crafted rice bowls, pasta, shrimp, wraps and salads, opens its doors to customers on Nov. 11, said franchise owner Perry Patel.

The restaurant, which launched its first location in Miami in 2011, has renovated the former Church’s Chicken location at 2018 N. Mulberry St. next to Denny’s.

Patel, a local entrepreneur, said in a statement he chose to invest in the growing franchise after visiting the restaurant during a vacation.

“I went to Florida earlier this year and had lunch at GRILLiT, and loved it,” he said in the statement. “The menu consists of innovative recipes, the atmosphere is modern while still being comfortable, and the overall concept has significant growth potential in Kentucky and other Midwestern states.”

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ghazi Hajj has said this will be the first GRILLiT location that is a standalone structure with a drive-through window.

The company prides itself on healthy dining by partnering with domestic growers and cooking with Angus beef and fresh chicken rather than frozen meat products. General Manager Jimmy Miller said all of its dishes, sauces and salad dressings will be made from the freshest ingredients on the premises every day and the restaurant strives to partner with Kentucky vendors to purchase food supplies.

“That hasn’t been finalized but ultimately that’s our goal,” Miller said.

Patel said in the statement GRILLit’s commitment to locally-sourced ingredients allows it to design healthy and delicious menu options that meet a rising demand for flavorful food choices that are good for the body.

“It’s fresh, healthy food and a business model that is very easy to operate,” Patel said. “It’s a great investment for me.”

GRILLiT, a publicly traded company on NASDAQ, also offers an open kitchen with a “contemporary, industrial design.” Miller said the business likely will employ between 10 to 17 workers.

The company’s long-term plan calls for a minimum of 21 corporate locations and more than 50 franchise operations in the next three to five years. GRILLiT already has secured master franchise agreements in several states and is in the process of finding franchise owners and operators.

Patel said interest in the first GRILLit location in Kentucky is growing every day as residents call inquiring about when it opens. The buzz has Patel considering expanding the franchise into Ohio next year.

“We’re looking at downtown Cincinnati and downtown Dayton for expansion,” he said.

Hours of operation for the Elizabethtown store are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays, according to Miller.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.