What's In Store

Yafo Kitchen could open location No. 2 later this year

Yafo Kitchen in SouthPark has drawn a quick following for its fast-casual approach to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean favorites, such as schwarma, hummus and falafel.
Yafo Kitchen in SouthPark has drawn a quick following for its fast-casual approach to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean favorites, such as schwarma, hummus and falafel. Charlotte Observer

Charlotte restaurateur Frank Scibelli is getting closer to opening his second Yafo Kitchen, the popular Middle Eastern street food concept that first opened in SouthPark in 2016.

Scibelli and his team are in the midst of lease negotiations for a spot on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood, the serial restaurateur told the Observer, though he declined to say where exactly the new restaurant would be. If all goes well, he added, the second Yafo would open later this year.

Scibelli is also hiring another chef from Washington, D.C. – who has experience in Egyptian, Lebanese and Greek cuisine – to run the SouthPark Yafo. Shai Fargian, executive chef of the SouthPark location, will oversee both restaurants, but will spend most of his time in the new Yafo. Scibelli did not say who the new chef is – only that he is starting in May.

The SouthPark Yafo has been “an absolute home run” that fills a niche, Scibelli said. He emphasized that nothing is set in stone yet with the new location, and that if the current negotiations fall through, he will seek out another spot on Central Avenue or in South End.

Scibelli’s other ventures in Charlotte include Mama Ricotta’s, Midwood Smokehouse and Paco’s Tacos & Tequila.

“I have Midwood (Smokehouse) and I love that area. I think it’s a great area. Midwood does well. I think Yafo could do as well or better than Midwood,” Scibelli said.

Yafo’s menu includes Middle Eastern street food cuisine like spiced rotisserie chicken, hummus and baba ganoush. Items are priced between around $8-$13.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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