“There is not a lot of great authentic pizza here in Forest Hills, and not much is happening along Queens Boulevard,” said co-owner Michael Jakubov, a 25-year-old Forest Hills resident. “It is a very diverse community, so we are catering to everyone who lives here for quality Mediterranean pizza and Mediterranean dishes. Come here with your family after a long day at work.”
Jakubov said a Za’atar pizza with Middle Eastern influences will be on the menu, as well as Branzino, a popular Mediterranean fish. Pasta dishes will include spaghetti marinara, baked ziti, and penne a la vodka, and a variety of soups and salads will be served, in addition to tacos, wraps, and dessert specials. A sushi bar is also planned.
“Mezze is a live atmosphere with Mediterranean music,” explained Jakubov. “We wanted another vibe for a pizza shop, with an eye-popping and a more extravagant look. We want people to come in with big smiles.”
Jakubov and his partners added a terrazzo counter with pressed tin backsplash and molding, but the pizza counter will remain in the front with a dining room behind it. The kitchen has also been expanded.
“Downstairs we will have a huge and exciting party room, as in a VIP section,” he said. “So if anyone wants to have a party, we will be there for you.”
Offering genuine customer service is one of Jakubov’s key components of achieving success.
“We want our customers to enjoy coming into our restaurant and feel like they are home,” he said. “I want them to feel loved, appreciated, and as if they are spending their money wisely. The customer knows that whatever they are eating will be worth it. That includes the food and its freshness and texture.”
Jakubov started in the food industry when he was 15, learning from his father.
“I began at Gotta Getta Bagel, worked at King David, and I currently work at Pizza Professor in Kew Gardens Hills and Brooklyn,” he said. “I grew up working hard and gradually learned and studied their craft, and that tradition stayed with me forever. I have realized that entrepreneurship is key, and learning from people with experience is the best way to achieve greatness.”
Jakubov is proud to offer the spirit of a mom-and-pop shop, which he feels has dwindled in recent years.
“When you enter a franchise, no one really cares about the customer,” he said. “Here the owner will provide great customer service, and you will build a friendship.”
Jakubov hopes to one day open a large catering hall and even a culinary school.
“In this business, you need passion and dedication,” he said. “You have to love what you do. it’s a blood, sweat and tears business.”