Dining options for Thomasville residents will soon become a little more diverse.
Within the next week, University Kitchen, which already has an established location in High Point, will add a second location at 839 Julian Ave., which formerly housed The Beeb's.
The decision to expand came after business partners Michael Tsambounieris, Emmanuel Talarantas and chef Clayton Ramsey met longtime Thomasville business owner Tammy Joyce.
Joyce helped find the location and even introduced the men to the former owner of the building.
"I like their restaurant," said Joyce, who owns the Sweet Frog in Thomasville and The Blend. "They had Pizza Wing King and University Kitchen, and we just got to be friends and they were looking at big cities to put another location. I was like, you need to come to Thomasville, and they were like 'Thomasville, well we haven't thought about that.' So smaller town, but they decided to invest and start from there."
University Kitchen first opened in July 2016. It's located right beside High Point University near the busiest intersection in the city, according to Ramsey.
Tsambounieris and Talarantas first opened Pizza Wing King in High Point, and then Ramsey came to work with them for about six or seven months until the group decided to open University Kitchen. The two businesses are now sister restaurants.
According to Tsambounieris, University Kitchen has already had quite the impact on the surrounding area.
"High Point University named their school after us," Tsambounieris joked. "We're the university of great cooking."
Ramsey described University Kitchen as a family friendly restaurant with a diverse menu that includes beer, wine, liquor, Italian food, Southern food, Mediterranean food, pasta, wings, ribs, burgers and more.
Tsambounieris said the restaurant is suitable for kids all the way to senior citizens.
"The restaurant is based upon everything," Tsambounieris said. "You can have anything you want. You want pizza and wings, you want country style steak — that's the kind of restaurant we are. We have a menu that's for anybody — from anywhere you come. Even if you come from New York, you're still going to get a great burger. If you come from Texas, you're still going to get a great rib. We've got it all. That's what makes us unique, and everything is good."
The group said that as excited as they are to come to Thomasville, they feel the residents are even more eager.
Joyce said many in Thomasville have already been to University Kitchen and love the menu. She added that when some found out University was coming to Thomasville, they went to High Point to experience the restaurant.
Talarantas said the Thomasville location will provide convenience for customers.
"We get a lot of customers from Thomasville at University Kitchen, so we feel like it was needed for our style restaurant to come and fulfill needs of the people in Thomasville," Talarantas said.
Joyce said the location on Julian Avenue is perfect because of its track record and the fact that it's situated in the heart of Thomasville.
"We're right here close to (Interstate) 85 and right now, another restaurant is needed in the town," Joyce said. "We've got a lot of good restaurants and a lot of good local restaurants, but this diverse menu is just going to be great."
In addition to the diverse menu, the Thomasville location will have a Kids' Zone that has a row of arcade machines. Joyce explained that parents can bring friends and have a conversation while the kids go play games. The mini arcade room is in full view so the parents can still keep track of their children.
Joyce's businesses and University Kitchen will also provide discounts for each other. For the first month, a trip to Sweet Frog could get a customer a free drink at University Kitchen and a vice versa deal for those who come to University Kitchen.
Tsambounieris said that if more expansion comes, the focus will be on University Kitchen.
"My thought is, if we're going to go up, it's going to be University Kitchen," Tsambounieris said. "If we do anything, we might change them all to University Kitchens. It's better to have one name across the board and have great success. If people go to Winston, hey you know University Kitchen. You don't want Pizza Wing King, University Kitchen and Tom's Place and Emmanuel's Grill and Clayton's Kitchen — people don't know you as well. If you stick to one and you do the right job, you'll be successful anyway."
For updates on when University Kitchen will open, visit the restaurant's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/University-Kitchen-of-Thomasville-781880815342623/.
Ben Coley can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 227 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Ben on Twitter: @LexDispatchBC