Au Bon Pain alums debut new fast casual concept

Nov. 20, 2012

Chef/co-owner Thomas John and chief financial officer/co-owner Tim Oliveri will open a new Mediterranean-inspired fast casual concept called Piperi on Dec. 3 in Boston's Government Center.

Piperi (pronounced pip-AIR'-ee) is the Greek word for peppercorns. The concept will feature flatbread sandwiches, salads and mezze plates, each made to order and served fast to take out or eat in. Dishes can be pre-ordered online.

The concept was inspired by the centuries-old Mediterranean tradition of merchants sailing along the eastern shores to barter for market-fresh food.

Piperi's menu choices are outlined on a blackboard menu. Guests choose from an array of grilled meats, vegetables or falafel, and then choose from a variety of Mediterranean toppings and sauces. Ingredients are then topped on a choice of signature Gozi flatbread or crisp greens, or served as a mezze plate with rice pilaf.

Gozi, baked hourly on the premises, is a modern interpretation of gozleme, a traditional hand-rolled pastry from Turkey. The baking process creates circles in the dough that resemble eyes, or "göz" in Turkish. Gozi is similar to pita, but thinner and bolder flavored.

Piperi uses only fresh ingredients and spices. Antibiotic-free and humanely-raised chicken and sirloin, never frozen, will be marinated and grilled in small batches to retain their tenderness. Vegetables are roasted a la minute, to preserve color and flavor. Sauces and dressings will be made from scratch on the premises. Cooking is done with virgin olive oil, and with fresh herbs and spices.

Co-founders' backgrounds

Executive chef/co-owner Thomas John was born and raised in Kerala, India. Food and Wine named him one of the country's "Best New Chefs," and the James Beard Foundation dubbed him a "Rising Star of American Cuisine." Esquire crowned his Mantra one of the "Top New Restaurants in America," and Condé Nast Traveler listed it among the "Top 75 Restaurants in the World."

He served as executive chef at Au Bon Pain and, for several years, he participated in the "Worlds of Healthy Flavors" conference at The Culinary Institute of America.

CFO/co-owner Tim Oliveri brings a lengthy career in finance, having held positions at Pepsi, Ice Mountain Spring Water, and most recently, CFO of Au Bon Pain. There, Oliveri and John developed the idea for a restaurant that would create a sense of well-being for its customers and employees.

Oliveri's personal interests include vegetarianism and fitness. He is a graduate of Suffolk University and Babson College.

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Topics: Food & Beverage , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management

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