Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Jack Adly stands in front of the signature wall inside Venus Greek & Mediterranean.
Jack Adly stands in front of the signature wall inside Venus Greek & Mediterranean.

Venus Greek & Mediterranean opens in Grand Island Tops Plaza

Sat, Jan 20th 2024 07:00 am

Story and Photos by Alice Gerard

Senior Contributing Writer

Jack Adly and Cheryl Simonick-Frailey became friends at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

“We met through the Perri family, who owns Pizza Amore,” Simonick-Frailey said. “Jack had his food truck (Venus Greek & Mediterranean) over at the outdoor ice rink at Cornerstone during the beginning of the pandemic a couple of years ago. I then asked him if he would consider bringing his food truck to various Island happenings. We’ve stayed in contact, and he was looking for a location on the Island since early last year.”

Adly found his Island location in the former home of Just Pizza in the Tops Plaza. He had his soft opening on Dec. 15 and a grand opening Dec. 22.

Venus Greek & Mediterranean had its start at the University Plaza on Main Street in Buffalo in 2010. Adly said he started the business with his parents, Juju Amirco and Mary. He then expanded the business to include the food truck and his restaurant on Maple Road.

Adly explained that he started his work life with other career plans. “I have my master’s degree in criminal justice.” His career, however, went in a different direction.

“I started off working in restaurants when I was younger, and I had the passion for it, for cooking and stuff,” Adly said. “It turned out great, We had a lot of compliments in our first year in business. It was great to see the customers coming back once, twice, three times. Sometimes, that's in a week or in a month. That showed me that the food was pretty good. I learned a lot from the family. I worked in other places. I worked in pizzerias and in other Mediterranean places. It progressed from there.”

Adly began creating his own recipes, which includes the homemade garlic sauce that he adds to many of his foods.

“I started the garlic sauce in 2010,” he said. “I used to make my own tzatziki, garlic sauce, and tahini. Garlic sauce was the winner, so we always have requests from people asking for extra garlic sauce. So, we eliminated the tzatziki and the tahini that we used to make. Everything in here we make in house, except for the gyro.”

Simonick-Frailey said the garlic sauce is so good that it is bottled and available for purchase at the restaurant. She added the food at Venus Greek & Mediterranean is “fresh, tasty and something different than the usual greasy fried foods.”

One of the many dishes on the menu is shish tawook, which Adly, a native of Egypt, described as an “original Egyptian dish. If you were ever to go to Egypt, ask for shish tawook platter. We put in chunks of chicken breast, grilled with peppers and onions. It's marinated in a bunch of Mediterranean spices.”

Adly said he is thankful for the response that Grand Island showed to the new restaurant.

“It's been so great,” he said. “We've been overwhelmed by the amount of love from Grand Island, in particular. My other stores are around schools, like the university. Students come in and get one item, maybe two items. I was overwhelmed here to see a whole family ordering and then not just one. The whole Island is full of families. It was something for me to learn. I wasn't aware of that. Everybody was ordering three or four items at a time. A lot of love and a lot of support.”

Simonick-Frailey’s advertising the business on social media has helped, Adly said.

“If you could thank her personally and everyone else in the community, it would be amazing,” he said. “She's given us a ton of support ever since day one. I've been so busy with the restaurant, doing all this stuff. She's been handling all the social media for us. She announced Venus on the Island.”

“I’m all about not only supporting businesses on the Island, but promoting them as well,” Simonick-Frailey said. “Jack is an awesome person, and he’s very easy to get along with. I’m happy to help anyone and see their businesses thrive. It totally makes me happy, that people who live on the Island can make a living with a business here.”

Adly said his hopes for his restaurant include providing a place for Islanders to hold events – “It's ready for anyone who wants to host anything.”

The customers’ happiness is Adly’s primary concern, he said. He made a wall available for people to write greetings and comments.

“All the locations have walls,” Adly said. “I feel like it's a memory you could keep here for as long as we're open. It's not just about food here. We would like to get to know you, to have you as part of our family. When you leave something here, you bring your family here, you show them all that you've been coming here for so long. This just means a lot to us. We want them to leave their signature or something to show that they've been coming here.

“I put my heart into this at all times. I want them to know that. If anybody is upset about anything, I will do everything in my ability to make it better for them. I do this, not for the money. Obviously, I've got to pay my bills. This is something I love doing.”

Simonick-Frailey added, “He wants everyone to be happy with their food and the service. He strives for that. He’s going to be here for a very long time. I couldn’t be happier for Jack and Sandra! They are great people who are a great addition to this great Island that we get to live on. Grand Island is a special place, for sure.”

Venus Greek & Mediterranean is open Mondays through Saturdays.

“We are currently going to be closed on Sundays, but that might change later. We stay open until 10 p.m., so we'll see how that goes,” Adly said.

Patrons have the option of eating their food on site, picking up or takeout. Delivery is available via Grubhub or DoorDash.

Venus Greek & Mediterranean’s Grand Island location is in the Tops Plaza.

Hometown News

View All News