Blink and you might miss a new Rachel's Mediterranean Grill.
The chain offering fast-casual Greek and Lebanese fare is rapidly expanding, with plans to add six new locations to its current menu of seven restaurants.
The new spots include two restaurants in suburban Rochester set to open in February. Once the tzatziki sauce settles, Rachel's will have 11 locations in this market – including six in Amherst alone.
"We're very excited, we're trying to expand as much as possible," without losing control over quality, said Ben Kupka, the chain's director of catering.
The Mediterranean eatery features customizable wraps, bowls and a short list of classics such as falafel, gyro, chicken shawarma and other items.
The Original Rachel's Mediterranean opened in the early 2000s at 5953 Main St., on the Williamsville-Amherst border across from Williamsville South High School.
That restaurant has the most extensive menu, while the other locations focus on quick-service food. The company also offers catering.
Owned by the Khoury family, brothers Joseph and Jahed Khoury have overseen the chain's recent growth.
They added locations in downtown Buffalo at West Chippewa Street and Elmwood Avenue; at 3860 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg; in the Commons retail center on the University at Buffalo's Amherst campus; and at 5493 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, in the Williamsville Place plaza, its largest restaurant featuring a dedicated station for order pickup and its own delivery system.
Rachel's Mediterranean initially said it was moving its Cheektowaga restaurant from 1526 Walden Ave., at Harlem Road, to 2130 Walden Ave., at Union Road. Instead, after opening the new restaurant, the chain decided to reopen the 1526 Walden location, too. The sites are less than 2 miles apart.
Rachel's isn't done yet. It's expanding into the Rochester area with restaurants opening this month in Henrietta and Pittsford, Kupka said.
Restaurants at 4933 Transit Road, Lancaster, and 1395 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Amherst, a former Arby's, are expected to open this year.
And Rachel's will take over a storefront that is now home to a Starbucks at 8250 Transit Road in the Eastview Plaza in East Amherst, said Eric Recoon, vice president of development and leasing at Benderson Development Co.
That space is available because Starbucks is moving to a new Benderson building at 8100 Transit Road, at Maple Road, East Amherst, where it will have the drive-thru it lacks at Eastview Plaza, Recoon said.
Rachel's will join a HSBC Bank USA branch at 8100 Transit, according to regulatory filings.
In addition, Rachel's is planning to open a restaurant in Amherst's Getzville section – that would make 13 locations – at 35 Crosspoint Parkway in the CrossPoint Business Park, said Brandon Guzda, director of operations.