Greek restaurant to open in Pullman

Yia Yia Nikki's will occupy Banner Bank, provide drive-thru option

Yia+Yia+Nikki%27s+is+projected+to+open+in+August.+For+the+meantime%2C+food+will+be+sold+through+a+food+truck.

LAUREN PETTIT

Yia Yia Nikki's is projected to open in August. For the meantime, food will be sold through a food truck.

ZACH GOFF, Evergreen reporter

A restaurant that specializes in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine may open its doors in August.

Yia Yia Nikki’s will be located at 1300 S. Grand Ave. The restaurant will also have a drive-thru, owner Monir Desouky said.

This will be the third location of the franchise as the original restaurant opened about 10 years ago in Oregon. Desouky said he kept the name from the previous owner.

Yia Yia means grandma in Greek. He said just like some grandmas do, everything on the menu is made from scratch.

“You might gain a couple dollars here and there, but if you take shortcuts, it’ll come back and bite you in the butt eventually,” Desouky said. “Everything we do is the hard way, but that’s what it takes to have customer satisfaction. You do it right, and people will come back for the food.”

Desouky said he is hoping to help build excitement for the restaurant with a temporary food truck while he waits to receive some permits from the state.

“We’ll sell my product and use my product until my doors are officially open, and then it’ll be gone,” he said.

Desouky worked as a food service director and consulted for higher education for over 40 years. When Desouky retired, he said he took everything he knew and put it into making Yia Yia Nikki’s the best it can be. He said it has helped him see everything from a bigger picture and gives him a perspective of what his restaurant needs to better for the communities it serves.

“The first place I bought used to be empty, and it was empty for five years, so I bought it,” Desouky said. “I gave the keys to my wife and kids and when I retire, I’ll have something to play with.”

He wants to open a branch in Pullman because his son works at WSU. Desouky said he visits as often as he can, so it made sense to have another reason to visit.

“It’s a struggle and a risk to open up a new store right now, but I’m hoping that will go away soon,” Desouky said. “In the meantime, drive-thrus are a little bit safer than a full sit-down restaurant.”