Sparti’s Gyros eyes Aug. 15 opening of new downtown restaurant 

BY DI STAFF | JULY 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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An area fast-casual Greek restaurant has set its eyes on the downtown restaurant scene, with the hopes of a slightly different name allowing it to cash on both the daytime and nighttime student appetites.

Sparti’s Gyros, with locations in Kenosha and Racine, Wis., as well as on the Coralville Strip, is targeting an Aug. 15 opening date for its Old Capitol Town Center location.

Once open, it will operate under the name Sparti’s Express in hopes of drawing full attention to its Chicago-style hot dogs, Greek gyros, pitas, and sandwiches, downtown restaurant co-owner Keith Brophy said.

It will take over the former site of Sam’s Steamed Caboose Burger, which closed April 18.

“Before we even opened in Coralville, we looked at Iowa City,” he said. “I’ve always liked the downtown area, and there’s so much foot traffic.”

Brophy said marketing the Coralville restaurant to the University of Iowa students has proved to be difficult, citing the lack of students with vehicles.

On any given month, Sparti’s sells more than 2,000 gyros sandwiches, with more than 15 tons of gyros meat sold in 2012, he said.

Looking to capture lunch crowds, it will open at 11 a.m. with a 3 a.m. closing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for late-night crowds.  

Plans currently call for service to be limited to the mall’s interior until 10 p.m., when exterior window ordering will become available.

Despite the pending September arrival of downtown’s Swankie Frankie, a new hot dog, and hamburger restaurant, Brophy said he expects his product to speak for itself.

“I think it’s going to be a process for people to walk past the food carts on the Ped Mall, but it’s a niche market that we think isn’t done very well there,” he said.

— by Quentin Misiag

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