Lezzet’s first week in Vienna went down as smoothly as a bite of buttery rice pilaf.
The Centreville-based Mediterranean restaurant has gotten a warm welcome at the Cedar Park Shopping Center (262 Cedar Lane), where its second location opened on April 10, General Manager Burcin Can says.
“[The opening] was overdue, so they were excited that we are in this community, especially in Vienna and especially inside this shopping center,” Can said. “…Right now, we are getting very good feedback from the community and Vienna residents. It’s going well so far.”
Taking its name from the Turkish word for “delicious,” Lezzet occupies 3,310 square feet of space in Suites F and G with two dining rooms and a cocktail bar. It’s two doors down from the recently opened Mexican restaurant El Sabor Grill, which is also managed by Can.
Where El Sabor is more of an experiment for the restaurants’ Turkish owners, Lezzet arrives with a confidence forged by experience.
The flagship restaurant launched in the Old Centreville Crossing shopping plaza (13850 Braddock Road) in May 2020. It was founded by chef Serkan Gozubuyuk, whose resume includes stints as executive chef at Ankara in Dupont Circle and sous chef for Agora Tysons.
Gozubuyuk’s family has been involved in the restaurant industry for more than 25 years now, stretching back to a restaurant they owned in Turkey before immigrating to the U.S.
Can says that familiarity with the cuisine and culture permeates everything at Lezzet, from the menu to the decor and the style of dishes, which include mezze small plates as well as family-sized platters.
“Lezzet has a lot of experience in authentic Mediterranean cuisine. That’s what makes it special,” Can said, pointing to the mucver, or zucchini pancake, as one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
Even though it opened during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when service was still limited to takeout and deliveries, Lezzet proved so successful that its owners quickly started exploring options for an expansion.
According to Can, the owners were drawn to Vienna by the Tysons area’s growing population and residents’ embrace of international cuisine. They started renting the space at Cedar Park about a year ago, building out the interior from scratch.
Because of the pandemic and related health precautions, though, construction lagged, as did the permitting and certification process. Construction was completed in January, and a health certificate was finally issued in late March — about three-and-a-half months after the restaurant applied.
The Vienna Lezzet opens at 11 a.m. It operates until 9:30 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The menu, which Can says is the same as the Centreville restaurant, features grilled meat, flatbreads, salads, lunch wraps, seafood, yogurt entrees, and more.
While juggling two restaurants presents some challenges, Can says he’s committed to providing an atmosphere and level of service that will make both Lezzet and El Sabor successful.
“I’m trying to greet all my clients, all my customers over here, trying to meet with these wonderful Vienna residents, and meet and exceed their expectations when it comes to authentic Mexican food and authentic Mediterranean food,” Can said.
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