Life is beautiful for new Greek restaurant owner
“This has been a passion of mine since I was a kid — It’s in my blood” – Uncle Adi’s owner Adrian Alimi
By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — Ever since 35-year-old Adrian Alimi was a child, he dreamed of owning his own restaurant. Last week, such a dream became a reality.
Uncle Adi’s Gyros opened on Wednesday, Nov. 14 to a large showing of both new customers and supporters from Alimi’s own neighborhood. For Alimi, he never quite imagined that his passion would take him away from a traditional restaurant setting to a drive-thru stop, but the journey has been nothing short of moving.
“It’s Beautiful.” said Alimi in reflection of his opening week experience.
Alimi’s parents migrated from the Mediterranean, and since the tender age of 8 has been involved in some fashion in the restaurant industry. Alimi recalls memories of his youth where he would come home from school, immediately change, and rush to his parent’s restaurant. Alimi would sometimes do homework in restaurant booths, and even sometimes sleep at the restaurant.
Alimi has been a registered dental hygienist since 2008, and while he loves his craft, his true passion lies in what is his family’s tradition.
“I help people with their health, and then I help people fill their up stomachs,” joked Alimi. “My patients are family and my family and friends are my patients.”
However, his journey would simply not have been complete without the support of his family, and especially his wife, 34-year-old Zemy Alimi.
“This has been his dream forever, but it seemed it was never the right timing until one day he said ‘I’m doing this’.” said Zemy Alimi. “I said wherever you go, I’m right behind you.”
Originally from Macedonia, Zemy has been in the area for 14 years, and has been married to Adrian for 15. She initially helped full-time to get the restaurant off the ground, but has scaled back a little to go back to her prior job at Spectra Print. Zemy can do it all, and specializes in making the baklava and helping with the one-of-a-kind bureks.
“She’s the rock of the place.” said Adrian.
Uncle Adi’s serves a hearty Greek menu, with specialty items such as rotisserie chicken gyros and bureks, which are a flaky phyllo pastry filled with a blend of various ingredients. The mastermind behind the bureks is Adrian’s Father-in-Law, 60-year-old Latif Tairi. He is also from Macedonia, and has been in the food industry his entire life.
“I never thought in my 60 years that I would actually come here and help out my Son-in-Law and daughter.” said Tairi.
“He’s proud of us and we’re happy to have him.” said Zemy.
Uncle Adi’s Gyros is open Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 8PM, and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3AM. They are closed on Sundays. For more information, check out their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/uncleadisgyros/
“So far it’s been amazing,” said Alimi. “We’ve had a lot of support, and I’m amazed at the positive energy and reviews that people have given us. That means the world to me.”
Uncle Adi’s Gyros is located at 301 Division St.