Zio Johno’s Spaghetti House will open at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at a new Cedar Rapids location, 3120 Edgewood Rd. SW, near Walmart.
Eli Khairallah, who owns the Zio Johno’s in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Marion and North Liberty, said the 3,600-square-foot building — former home to a Fazoli’s restaurant — was extensively remodeled to put “Zio Johno’s stamp on it.”
“I wanted to expand and create a model for franchising,” Khairallah said. “The amount of money that I would have put into our former location at 2925 Williams Parkway SW was the same amount of money that I was able to invest in our new location.
“We have much better visibility at our new location and we are able to have a pickup window for orders that are phoned in ahead of time.”
Zio Johno’s has been leasing 4,000 square feet of space in a former bank building near MidAmerican Aerospace and Capri College. That location was set to close on Wednesday night.
Khairallah has hired 10 additional employees for the new venue.
Khairallah also is moving the Zio Johno’s in Iowa City from 953 S. Riverside Dr. to space in the former Paul’s Discount building at 424 Highway 1. He said that project is on track for an expected move at the end of October.
Khairallah also hopes to open a Zio Johno’s in Des Moines next year. He said the project was pushed back due to planning and work related to the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City relocations.
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Khairallah’s son, Andrew, now is on board so he can become familiar with the operation of the chain.
”I am hoping within a few years he will take over the entire corporation,” Khairallah said.