ST. CHARLES – Much like the entree Just Kabobs is named after, the restaurant’s concept has sizzled into tasty success for St. Charles restaurateur John Symeonides.
“I’ve been doing restaurants for 40 years,” Symeonides said of his lengthy experience in the industry. “I always wanted to do this concept.”
He said after running four large restaurants, he finally was able to give his idea a shot and found it was a hit.
Just Kabobs celebrated its seventh anniversary last month on Route 64 in St. Charles, a short distance east of Randall Road. It offers an attractive, casual space for dining, and provides carryout and delivery, as well as drive-thru convenience – plus a pleasing price point. Because of the speed of the staff, hungry diners find immediate gratification.
An array of ingredients is laid out before patrons who tell the staffers their choices among the options and accompaniments as they move down the row. Behind them, cooks run the grill.
“People love it,” Symeonides said. “It’s healthy [and] they see their food being prepared in front of them. Anything we do in this place is fresh. We prepare everything on a daily basis from the meat to the vegetables. We do not use anything frozen [except] the fries.”
Because of the smaller-sized kitchen, the only pre-prepared items include baklava dessert, gyro meat, pita and spinach pie.
The kabobs offer a choice of beef, pork, chicken and shrimp that is marinated in-house the day before. He said shrimp is one of the big movers.
Another favorite is the whole rotisserie chicken for $7.95, offered with herb flavoring or barbecue sauce. It’s also available by the half.
“It’s real good; we sell a lot of them,” he said, noting the top seller is the chicken kabob plate.
The plate features two chicken skewers and generous portions of rice pilaf, green salad, pita and roasted potato wedges.
Another popular dish stars a colorful array of vegetables.
“Everybody loves our grilled veggies,” Symeonides said. “Some don’t want starch like rice and potato, and get skewers and veggies – they go for an … alternative.”
Deliveries are offered in a wide area using a custom-made truck design with both an oven on board to keep everything at the proper temperature and refrigeration for items like salad.
Symeonides said their catering is used regularly for staff at area hospitals and similar settings.
Key to a restaurant’s success is consistency, he said. The staff sticks to the recipes he developed, for example, precisely measuring the amounts of water, spices, butter and chicken broth for the rice pilaf.
“We don’t guess when we do stuff,” he said. “That’s a big plus when you do big volume. You have to be consistent.”
Just Kabobs is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 1825 W. Main St. (Route 64).
For information, visit justkabobs.com or call 630-443-3400.