Copita expands and moves to a larger space in the Embassy Suite

Current location of Kopita, 524 South Gay Street, Knoxville, June 2022

It wasn’t long to wait for Knox Mason to see which restaurant moved to the space at Embassy Suites for an immediate vacancy. Avi Zenatti and his spouse Ilana Brodt move down Kopita just below the street to a new space. It is scheduled to open in mid-July.

According to Avi, the couple wanted to expand Kopita in their current space a few months ago, including relocating larger kitchens and restaurants. They took all necessary steps with the permission of the architect and the city and obtained a work quote. He paused because the quote was high.

He and Yilana are friends with the family of Alpesch Patel, the owner of Embassy Suites, who often eats in Copita. Avi said the two had long talked about doing something interesting together, like adding something different to downtown. When Alpesh tells Avi that Knox Mason is leaving the Embassy Suites restaurant space and asks if he’s interested in Avi.

Instead of adding money to the current Kopita location, it makes sense to envision a location that already has more space and a kitchen than he wanted. He said they talked, and for him the problem wasn’t making money from the restaurant for himself, but making enough money to cover the expenses and pay enough to his workers. Is. “My main purpose is to provide a place to work for the people of Knoxville and to provide a high salary with health insurance and benefits.”

His plans include expanding his Mediterranean cuisine to include flavors from other Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Morocco. He also plans to integrate some Indian spices into the food he prepares. The original menu items will remain intact, but the dinner service will expand both vegan and meat offerings. Lunch service offers the same menu currently available at Kopita.

Like Kopita, he said it was all made to order. Every morning, the food is ready and everything is fresh. He states that he will continue to buy as much as possible from local farmers and aims to expand their relationship. He gets fresh fish three times a week to keep it fresh. Like Kopita, he continues to make his own sauces, fresh Baba ghanoush, humus and import pita from Israel.

Yilana said the couple wants to provide healthy food to the city and fresh food is important. She said it fits their vision of what they want to do, while it costs more. She said. “We always let people eat at our table. When we opened the restaurant, it became our kitchen outside, an extension of our house.”

The restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Supper ends at 9 pm or 10 pm on weekdays and at 10 pm or 11 pm on weekends. There is also a late-night menu available until midnight, and the bar is open.

Catering continues to be important, but now there is a larger kitchen. Ilana said catering has been so successful that it has become an increasingly large part of the business. Avi said legal and UT have become an important part of the catering business, often serving 50-150 people. According to Yilana, many professors are coming to Kopita for food freshness and health, which creates a connection to catering.

The restaurant also offers room service that was not previously available at the hotel. The couple said the service would begin months after opening.

The dinner service will add a white tablecloth to further expand the menu to “luxury food”. He said there would be food from Spain, Tunisia, Southern France and more. Often, the dishes presented may be a blend of traditional foods from culture. Moroccan food is served in table-sized tagines. He plans to make thali dishes using spices that are used in duplicate between India and the Mediterranean.

Embassy Suites restaurant space, soon switching from Knox Mason to Kopita, Knoxville, June 2022

At dinner, you can enjoy fresh Moroccan-cooked fish every day. He probably has a steak, but probably no cut commonly found elsewhere in the area, as he said “Denver cut”. Meat is served on skewers with fresh salads and vegetables. A variety of cabobs are offered. He also has a special goose dish containing a small piece of goose liver that Yilana says will die. We also have vegetables, so we also serve seasonal dishes.

Regarding vegan guests, the couple said that over 80% of the menu remains vegan. He also pointed out that he was having a hard time in the kitchen to keep food separate. The knives, pans and oils used to cook meat are not used, for example, to cook or cook vegan food. The cleanliness of the kitchen as a whole is very important to Avi. Avi spends the time leading up to the opening to make sure it’s clean to specifications. He said he saw it as a tribute to his guests. “Delicious and quality food starts in a clean kitchen.”

As for desserts, he said there are cheese-based ones. Another thing he wants to offer is a collaboration with Nolan Sherrill, owner of Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain. A milk-based dish, Mehalabiya (there are other spellings), was born in Turkey, but can be found in other parts of the Middle East. There may also be ice cream from the same kitchen.

He plans to take the entire team of nine employees who were with him during the pandemic to a new space, expanding to about 25 people. To that end, they are currently hiring all positions, including restaurant back-of-house, front-of-house, and bar bartenders. Yilana said she was looking for someone to work with her family and be proud of the restaurant. Avi said he is paying more than the minimum amount and paying for health insurance. If you are interested, please contact Avi (305) 570-9050.

For couples, their goal in galleries and restaurants is not to make a profit, but to support the business and provide enough products to support their employees, he said. Told. Their money comes from their real estate transactions and they are willing to pursue their passion for art for her and for him, without the pressure of not having to make a living.

Avi said the two moved to Knoxville after living in Jupiter, Florida. He said the house was beautiful and the water was clean. .. .. Since opening the restaurant and gallery, I have made more friends. All our friends came from Kopita and the gallery. He said one of those friends was Harrison Ford, who would eat repeatedly there and sometimes come to Knoxville for a special meal. “Imagine a friend you meet at a new restaurant!”

It is scheduled to open by mid-July. The original location will remain open until you cross the street. He wants no downtime. In the new location, the same decoration will be maintained except for the white tablecloth. The current copytaspace plan is underway, but its announcement is not yet ready.

“This restaurant will be very unique. We work hard. We are very excited. Come and eat!”

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