Zoe’s Kitchen opens near Ahwatukee in Chandler - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Money

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Zoe’s Kitchen opens near Ahwatukee in Chandler

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Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:45 am

The fast casual food of Zoe’s Kitchen is now available just across Interstate 10 at Ray Road in Chandler.

Zoe’s Kitchen has been in the Valley for more than 10 years, but this is the first location in the East Valley. Steven Yost, general manager of the new Chandler location, said if the popularity of the Chandler store is any indication of how successful the company can be, it’s only a matter of time before more locations start popping up.

“The company itself has grown tremendously,” he said. “We are the 120th store nationwide. About three years ago when I joined the company, they were only at store 47. A lot of the growth last year was based on the East Coast market but out here with the success that we are already seeing from the Chandler store, opening up more stores in the area is pretty inevitable.”

Zoe’s Kitchen is Mediterranean-based cuisine in a family-friendly atmosphere. The company uses a scratch kitchen, which means all the ingredients for their dishes are cut up and cooked fresh inside the restaurant every day.

The company also has a unique fundraising program they do at all their locations. They purchase canvasses, paint and paint brushes and donate them to local schools or day cares. The kids are asked to paint a picture and those pictures go back to the restaurant to be put on display.

“We set up a fundraiser night where the kids can come in, show their parents their artwork, and we do a family night so we do a percentage of total sales from that night that goes back to the school,” Yost said. “Over the next quarter we leave the artwork up for display and it is up for sale. Anyone from the general public can come purchase the art, pay for it at the register, it’s $20 for each piece, and we collect all the money and 100 percent of the profits go to the local school that did the artwork.”

Zoe’s in Chandler already has some artwork in the restaurant but because they opened up when school was already out for the summer, their first big fundraising night will be in the fall.

“We are about the community,” Yost said. “This is the first time I get to work where I live. I live right on the other side of I-10 so the commute is great for me, but I also get to be a part of a community where I know the people that own the businesses around me and the people I go to church with and see at the grocery market and the people who are teaching my kids. It’s really cool to be a part of that and see people and not only support other businesses but have them in turn come in and support us. The neighborhood we are in is fantastic for that. It’s a really good complement for the area, but we’re bringing something no one else offers.”

Zoe’s Kitchen is located at 7131 W. Ray Road, Suite 7. For more information, visit zoeskitchen.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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