Meet Joyia, newest cuisine to hit the Grove

Meet Chuck Pener, owner of the newest business to enter the Grove: Joyia. Pener is currently owner of highly-esteemed Momos Greek Tavern (Ouzaria Taverna) in University City, so you can expect only the highest quality of food and service at his newest venture. Pander decided to start up his new restaurant in the Grove in an effort to broaden his range and and showcase pan-Mediterranean delights and tapas, unlike Momos which offers only Greek. So expect cuisine from and inspired by Greece, Italy, Spain, and the Eastern Mediterranean. “My chef is awesome,” asserted Pener. “This restaurant and menu uses all his experiences.”

Joyia is multicultural, and is an expression from experiencing the fullest moment of complete joy. The restaurant hopes that a customer’s dining experience will reflect this name and idea, with a warm, welcoming, yet eclectic atmosphere.

Why the Grove? “The Grove is up and coming; we all know that,” Pener said. He’s been searching for commercial spaces in the Grove for the last couple of years, and only now has he stumbled upon the perfect fit. The increase in safety, security presence, and popularity of the business district doesn’t hurt, either.

But Pener has also noticed that the density of commercial development is not distributed evenly along the Grove; the western portion of the district still sports some vacancies and has fewer storefronts. “We’re here to bring some more activity to this end,” Pener stated. “We want to help grow the Grove, and bring more development to the middle.” Pener is confident of this; Momos, he explained, draws customers from all over the region, including Clayton, Illinois, and St. Charles, to name a few: “everywhere south to north,” he said. “We want to bring people who don’t know the Grove. We market our restaurant all around.”

The space is conducive to a restaurant with ambition and a vision, with opportunities to expand, a backyard garden for growing their own vegetables (how locally sourced is that?), and more. After all, valuing local is not just for show here at Joyia. All sauces and dressings are made in house, as are the breads. And that gives the opportunity for the restaurant to devise a creative and unique menu. (The menu isn’t public yet, so stay tuned; the glimpse we got was enough to make you salivate, though.) Prices will sit in an affordable to medium range, similar to Momos. Lunch sandwiches will hover around $7, which will further put the Grove on the map as an excellent affordable lunch destination with its several restaurants.

And of course, besides the spectacular dishes, “the service is going to be the bomb,” Pener stated confidently. Service is key to a successful restaurant where customers will want to come back.

Joyia will be the fifth restaurant to join the Grove this year, in addition to Sameem Afghan Restaurant, Layla Lebanese, O’Shay’s Pub, and SoHo Restaurant and Lounge and sixth new business in 2012 alone. In just the last few years, the Grove has become a leader in ethnic and diverse cuisine in the St. Louis region, now touting Mexican, Nepalese, Korean, Tibetan, Spanish, Southern, Irish, Soul, Lebanese, Afghan, Chinese, and now pan-Mediterranean. The Grove has also had substantial growth in businesses, with a growth in 167% (from 31 to 52 businesses), 90% of which include a day-time emphasis.

Chuck Pener and Joyia have a big vision, both for the restaurant as well as for the greater Grove. We warmly welcome him and his team to our growing neighborhood!

Joyia is located at 4501 Manchester at Taylor and is expected to open this October.

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm

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