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Photo via Dorie Opitz Figliola on Facebook
Photo via Dorie Opitz Figliola on Facebook
The new awning of Grill 66 being installed at the corner of 88th Street and 75th Avenue in Glendale.

A unique, family-owned restaurant is coming to Glendale at a familiar location, and the owner hopes that bringing something different to the table will mean sustained success in the neighborhood.

Angel Lopez, a resident of Glendale since 1999, said he was driving by the former home of Room 55 and Tazzina on the corner of 88th Street and 75th Avenue when he saw the “for sale” sign and decided to take a leap of faith. Now only a few weeks away from opening, Lopez’s barbecue spot Grill 66 will use simplicity and freshness to its advantage, he said.

“Around here you have your pizza, your Chinese food, your fast food, but everything here is made from scratch,” Lopez said. “A lot of people that I’ve come across just love barbecue food. It’s a simple food, a good food, and people aren’t intimidated by it.”

In fact, Lopez said he will butcher his own meats on site, cook rotisserie chickens, make hand-cut french fries and add “a little international flare” with his homemade hot sauces.

In order to accommodate the rotisserie cooker, smoker and grills, the kitchen had to be renovated to extend nearly 10 feet wider. That will limit the number of seats in the dining room to approximately 20, Lopez said, but there will also be a take-out counter to pick up orders from the kitchen.

The decor will include reclaimed wood and new lighting that brings a “rustic feel” to the space, and the family affair may add to that atmosphere. While Lopez is running the kitchen, his son and daughter will help run the front-of-house and some family friends will join the operation as well. Lopez is still looking for one more set of hands to help him in the kitchen, he said.

Lopez, 52, has worked for United Airlines for more than 20 years, but he also attended culinary school in the early 2000s and worked for a number of catering companies, he said. After taking some time away from commercial kitchens and doing private catering for some friends and family members, Lopez said when it comes to his dream of owning his own restaurant, “It’s now or never.”

“I don’t want to brag that my food is good, but I always get a thumbs up,” Lopez said. “I’m a little anxious and nervous but I think things will go well.”

With most of the major renovation work already completed, Lopez said that Grill 66 could be set to open in as little as two weeks depending on how quickly he can get the fire and health departments to complete their inspections.

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