Alabaster Taziki’s celebrates grand opening

ALABASTER – Taziki’s Mediterranean Café celebrated the grand opening of its new location in Alabaster at a ribbon cutting ceremony on the morning of Tuesday, July 18.

According to owner Keith Richards, the location in Alabaster is its second Shelby County location and the 77th Taziki’s franchise to open in the United States.

“77 is great, but it’s what happens within these walls that will move communities and affect people’s lives,” Richards said.

Richards said he and his wife, Amy, were inspired to open Taziki’s after they took a trip to Greece in the ‘90s.

“What we experienced in Greece is called ‘eudaimonia,’ meaning ‘human flourishing,’” Richards said. “We’ve cultivated the eudaimonia with all of the love and support, and we hope you feel that when you walk into a Taziki’s.”

Richards said he is pleased at how far he has seen Taziki’s grow since the first location opened in Birmingham.

“Close to 19 years ago, we put a sign on a building at the Colonnade,” Richards said. “We had to educate our guests and the community about who and what we are.”

Mayor Marty Handlon said bringing a Taziki’s to Alabaster was a joint effort between the city and Richards. Handlon said she approached Richards about a location in Alabaster after she heard him speak at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“After I saw the heart and heard the story behind his restaurant, I thought, ‘We have to get him in Alabaster,’” Handlon said. “It was a lot of asking and wanting and praying.”

Richards said Taziki’s will give Alabaster residents a healthier alternative to fast food and is in a convenient location on First Street.

“It was almost like a tomato that was ready to be picked,” Richards said. “We’re right next to the [Shelby Baptist Medical Center] and at the center of the community.”

Richards said he is passionate about helping the special needs community, and announced a partnership with Helena-based organization Aaron’s Staff Respite Care and presented them with a $2,000 donation at the opening.

“How could we turn down a company that has this vision for special needs people?” Aaron’s Staff co-founder Tim Trimble said. “Our goal is to get many companies to support the special needs community, and we’re glad that Taziki’s is leading the way.”

Along with Shelby County Schools Job Coach Cindy Binson, Richards founded Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment, which offers employment opportunities to at-risk and special needs youth and adults. According to Richards, HOPE employees grow the herbs and pick the vegetables that are used in Taziki’s recipes.

“God has blessed me with four healthy kids, and I was raised to give back,” Richards said.

Handlon said Taziki’s is a welcome addition to the Alabaster community.

“I’m so excited, and I know everyone in Alabaster is excited,” Handlon said.