Panini Grill wants to be home away from homePanini Grill wants to be home away from home

In Cutler Bay, not far from the Publix, there is a new restaurant, Panini Grill, that wants to be your home away from home. Panini Grill, 20465 Old Cutler Rd., has a homey atmosphere with fresh foods and free coffee with their breakfast offerings. “We are open early for breakfast,” said Vachagan Robert Yengibaryan, who with his wife, Natalia, own and operate Panini Grill. “We open at 7 a.m. with gourmet muffins and big croissants with ham and cheese.”

He said the idea behind the restaurant is that Panini Grill is a place where you can go out to eat and eat well without having to break the bank. While you’re at Panini Grill you can watch the news, read your favorite book or newspaper. And if you didn’t bring a book, they have a few James Patterson novels that you can read. They also have X-Box and a Wii for kids to play.

“We tailored this based on our needs. What we want in our neighborhood,” he said. “Customers are telling us this is what we need. Aneighborhood gathering place.” In the near future, they will offer European beer and wines for the customers who come later in the day. They are open until 11 p.m.

“The idea is not spend $15-$20 per person (to eat),” he said. “The most expensive item here is $8.95.”

They have been Cutler Bay residents for five years and also own a restaurant in Wellington. They moved to Cutler Bay when Yengibaryan secured a teaching job. He has taught at Southridge and Killian high schools. Yengibaryan has a degree in International Relations from Moscow State University and a PhD in Constitutional and International Law.

When he lived in Moscow he owned 15 pharmacies and he had a pharmacy export business. His wife has a degree in business administration.

He no longer teaches although he manages a student exchange program for Florida International University. “I bring students to study English,” he said.

But his passion is cooking and he set aside his other interests to open the restaurants. Since he is very much into education, Yengibaryan studied on his own and received certifications needed to be in the food industry.

He and his wife devised a menu using their European background and knowledge of Mediterranean foods.

“The menus went through big changes in the beginning,” he said. “It was a slower menu. Eventually we had to develop more items that could be done quickly. We are trying to stick with organic things. Chicken that we make is Kosher rated. No hormones, no antibiotics.”

They also have a children’s menu that includes homemade chicken tenders. “We also have a vegetarian menu,” he said. “We make our own hummus.” The menu includes fresh soups and four different breads for wraps.

“Once a week we offer something new,” he said. “If it sticks, we keep it on the menu.”

So far, the desserts have been a hit. Desserts include mango mousse, Italian almond cake, and baklava.

“We make all of our muffins,” Yengibaryan said. “And fresh cookies.” So far, the most popular item on the menu is the Greek gyro. It can be made with beef, lamb or chicken.

“We make fabulous smoothies. They do not contain ice or powders.”

Everything on the menu is available for pick-up.

For information, call 305-238-5894 or go online to < >.

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