Skip navigation

Third Akly brothers restaurant opens in Atlanta

Located in Buckhead, Zakia serves a mix of classic and modern Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine

Zakia is the latest restaurant from brothers Jonathan, Ryan, and Tony Akly, along with cexecutive hef Ian Winslade. The Lebanese/Middle Eastern restaurant, located in the Buckhead neighborhood, marks their third Atlanta-area project after Tre Vele, an Italian restaurant, and Mission + Market, an American restaurant with West Coast influences.

Tony Akly and his company, Restaurants Consulting Group, designed the 6,000-square-foot space to be bright, open and airy, with large windows, an open kitchen, and a goal of bringing the Mediterranean to Atlanta. Zakia seats more than 200 guests across the dining room and bar, and there are multiple private dining areas, including a second-floor room that can accommodate parties ranging from 10 to 60 people.

The restaurant’s namesake is the Akly brothers’ grandmother, Zakia, and its menu features dishes that are heavily inspired by family recipes the brothers grew up eating.

Chef Winslade worked alongside Jonathan and Ryan Akly to create the menu, which features classic and modern Lebanese and Middle Eastern mezze along with chargrilled meats and seafood. Select dishes include stuffed grape leaves, grilled quail, fried kibbeh (balls of bulgur wheat and meat), labneh (yogurt), and a selection of kabobs, plus grille Chilean seabass and red wine-braised lamb shanks. A pita oven bakes fresh breads daily. Mezze run from $6 to $21, and main dishes range from $19 to $45.

The wine list is accompanied by Lebanese and the Middle Eastern-inspired cocktails, and the bar also offers traditional arak service (Western Asian anise spirit) and Arabic coffee.

“I am really excited to dive back into the flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean that I experienced early in my career,” Winslade said, noting that he’s drawing inspiration from rich Lebanese culture and Akly family meals that have been passed down through the generations.

Now with three restaurants under their purview, the Zakia team has learned a lot along the way, including how to build teams and streamline operations.

“The importance of building a cohesive team and culture when opening a new business is more important now more than ever,” the Zakia team said. “The tight labor market of the past few years has taught us that finding the right people to foster the growth and culture of each restaurant is paramount, and we must continuously strive to make the restaurant both a great place to work and dine.” 

The three restaurants operate independently, but expansion has allowed the group to provide growth opportunities for its employees and to create new positions with specific roles that oversee all concepts. The team said that, “while there are unique aspects to each concept, many of the challenges and opportunities are shared among all the concepts, and our management staffs across the company are able to support and collaborate with one another.”

There are no further expansion plans at the moment, but the Aklys have had some preliminary discussions about additional projects. “We want to continue to focus on our existing concepts, but have a few exciting ideas we may want to explore in the future,” they said.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.